18/07/2019 09:31 BST | Updated 18/07/2019 18:20 BST

Why We're Launching The HuffPost School of Journalism

A lot of newsrooms talk about diversifying and opening up journalism – we've decided to do something concrete about it, writes executive editor Jess Brammar.

HuffPost UK

I am thrilled to announce the launch of a project that has been a long time in the planning – the HuffPost School of Journalism at Birmingham City University. We are getting stuck in at the sharp end and helping to train the next generation of journalists, and we couldn’t be more excited. 

It sits within the University’s School of Media, and will allow us to work with undergrad and postgrad students, highlighting our focus on quality journalism, and Birmingham City University’s passion for breaking traditional media forms.

We love what BCU is about, with a really diverse student body and a focus on what students need to be employable and get the most out of their university experience. This partnership works both ways – we can offer access to a busy, digital national newsroom, and an insight into the editorial decisions we make every day. We’re a global, Pulitzer Prize-winning media organisation, with journalists across the world. And can learn so much from BCU students, too.

At HuffPost we really believe in opening up and diversifying journalism, because that is how it will survive and thrive. As an industry, we need journalists that reflect the world they report on, because we are no longer competing only against our traditional rivals. Today’s readers have to choose to read news stories or lifestyle features alongside catching up with their favourite Netflix show on the commute to work.

People in their teens and 20s don’t approach news, or “content”, in the way that older people do. People like me in their mid-30s are less likely to pay for a print newspaper than people in their 50s, and we’re all more promiscuous in our choice of where we get our news. But there are platforms that younger people use to consume information every day that I am barely aware of. The industry needs to adapt to these changing trends, not fear them. We are excited to listen to students when they tell us what is important to them – and in return instil young journalists with the solid skills of newsgathering and reporting that will always be at the heart of what we do.

So what does all of this actually mean? The journalists at HuffPost will set students real-world challenges in modules, because it’s important for them to experience some of the pressures (and excitement!) of working in an actual newsroom. We’ll lead masterclasses and tutorials focused on news, lifestyle, politics and entertainment, and host talks to give students access to the best talent. There will also be the opportunity to spend time with the editorial team and the offer of work experience in the newsroom. 

Dr Sarah Jones, Head of Birmingham City University’s School of Media, said: “The HuffPost Centre for Journalism is the first of its kind. It places our students on a global stage and allows us to work with HuffPost to do media differently. It will have huge opportunities for our students and allow HuffPost to work closely with a new generation to understand how news is produced and consumed, telling stories across different platforms. The media landscape is changing and this exciting new partnership will allow us all to make a real difference in ensuring the future of journalism reflects the society we live in.”

Sarah is right, this is a great opportunity for everyone involved and, I hope, the start of something big. A lot of news outlets spend a lot of time talking about how to open up newsrooms and make them sustainable for the future. This is our way of actively doing something about it.