Every year News Associates and The School of Journalism host a journalism conference packed with notable journalists across print, online and broadcast from news presenters and sports editors to investigative reporters and feature writers – and they always share their top tips for getting into journalism.

JournoFest brings together students from our undergraduate and postgraduate courses in London and Manchester and prospective members of #TeamNA.

See below for highlights from 2017, 2018 and 2019.


We kicked off JournoFest with a twist in 2019 – with a panel all about public relations!

Guto Harri, previously communications director for Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s administration at London City Hall, Funmi Olutoye, an external communications officer for the London Assembly, and Paul Morgan, communications director at Premiership Rugby all spoke about the unique relationship between PRs and journalists. 

how to become a PR

PR – Journalists’ friend or foe?: (L-R) Guto Harri, Funmi Olutoye and Paul Morgan

This year’s keynote speaker was legendary columnist Susie Boniface AKA the Fleet Street Fox.

Boniface’s talk centred around the creation of her anonymous blog and the top ten mistakes young journalists should avoid.

Keynote speaker: Susie Boniface with News Associates deputy managing editor Graham Dudman

Boniface also signed copies of her latest book the Bluffers Guide to Journalism.

Boniface was a tough act to follow but Martin Stabe, the Financial Times’ head of interactive news, wowed our audience with a presentation on data journalism.

Stabe was later joined by Amy Ashenden, who runs video and social at Pink News, and Full Fact journalist Abbas Panjwani to discuss the future of digital journalism.

data journalism

Digital journalism – What’s the future?: (L-R) Martin Stabe, Amy Ashenden and Abbas Panjwani

The panel mulled over the perils of digital journalism, including fake news.

Our final panel was a JournoFest first but definitely a new tradition. We spoke to three News Associates alumni one, two and three years after graduating.

Ready to share their top tips for breaking into the industry was Jessica Cripps, who is in her first year at news agency Kennedy News and MediaChris Reidy who has been at Sky Sports News for two years and Daily Telegraph lifestyle writer Madeleine Howell who graduated three years ago.

journalism courses london

News Associates graduates – My first steps: (L-R) Jessica Cripps, Chris Reidy and Madeleine Howell

And last on the bill, but by no means least, was The Times chief reporter Sean O’Neill.

Our audience listened in awe as O’Neill discussed his investigation exposing Oxfam’s cover-up of sexual exploitation by aid workers in Haiti.

investigative journalism

In conversation with…: Sean O’Neill (right) with News Associates deputy managing editor Graham Dudman

And of course, in true JournoFest style, we didn’t let any of these incredible journalists leave without sharing their top tips for getting into journalism with Team NA!



Our first speaker couldn’t have a more topical job title if she tried. The Guardian Brexit correspondent Lisa O’Carroll kicked off JournoFest 2018.

getting into journalism

News Associates deputy managing editor Graham Dudman (left) with Lisa O’Carroll

O’Carroll discussed how the media landscape has changed dramatically over the years, with Donald Trump and Brexit but also in the way we consume news.

Later she shared her top tips for getting into journalism and stressed the importance of shorthand, mobile journalism and court reporting.

Next up we had our inaugural breaking into broadcast journalism panel with BBC News Intake senior broadcast journalist Narinder KalsiSky News presenter Tom Macleod and Sky Sports News head of journalism training Laurie Tucker.

getting into journalism

(L-R) News Associates Manchester head of journalism Andrew Greaves with Laurie Tucker, Narinder Kalsi and Tom Macleod

The panel discussed the importance of accuracy over speed and stressed the necessity of having a journalism qualification.

To read more about what our breaking into broadcast panellists discussed, click here.

Next up we were in conversation with Sky News senior correspondent Ian Woods.

Woods had the JournoFest audience on the edge of their seats discussing Richard Glossip and the death penalty in the USA – the subject of his new book ‘Surviving Execution: A miscarriage of justice and the fight to end the death penalty’.

journalism degrees london

Andrew Greaves (left) with Ian Woods

Our second panel of the day consisted of The New York Times digital journalist Anna SchaverienDaily Mail leader writer Neil Darbyshire and columnist Naomi Firsht who were there to discuss the biggest challenges facing newsrooms in 2018.

Our panellists discussed the freedom of the press, diversity and unpaid internships. To see what else they spoke about, click here.

journalism degree manchester

(L-R) Chair Graham Dudman with Naomi Firsht, Neil Darbyshire and Anna Schaverien

Staying topical, next up in the hot seat was Financial Times undercover reporter Madison Marriage.

journalism degrees

Graham Dudman (left) with Madison Marriage

Officially an accounting and tax correspondent, Marriage is now more commonly known for exposing the Presidents Club scandal.

On our final panel of 2018 discussing politics and dealing with fake news was Business Insider political reporter Adam PayneGuido Fawkes chief reporter Ross Kempsell and Sky News political correspondent Lewis Goodall.

Our panel agreed that fake news isn’t a new concept, the problem is the platform it now has to spread.

journalism degrees with nctj

(L-R) Chair Andrew Greaves with Lewis Goodall, Ross Kempsell and Adam Payne

See what else our panellists had to say (including a Mark Twain quote) by clicking here.

But that’s not all, our JournoFest speakers all shared their top tips for getting into journalism and how to make it in such a competitive industry. Click below to hear their wisdom!

Top tips for getting into journalism from journalists


Veteran BBC News anchor Maxine Mawhinney got the event underway in 2017. An NCTJ-trained journalist herself, our keynote speaker imparted knowledge from her 35-year career in news broadcasting before answering questions from our inquisitive trainees.

Then it was the turn of BBC sports editor Dan Roan to provide his insight into journalism with our trainees, followed by a Q&A.

Dan discussed his coverage of the alleged scandals at British Cycling, the International Olympic Committee and FIFA.

journalism degrees london

Andrew Greaves in conversation with Dan Roan

The rest of the day saw journalists who are experts in their fields sitting on four panels discussing investigative journalism, breaking news journalism, political journalism and social media and the digital age.

Examining why slow news matters on our investigative journalism panel we had BuzzFeed News investigations correspondent Jane Bradley, Matt Burgess of Wired and the FOI Directory and Bureau of Investigative Journalisminvestigations editor Meirion Jones.

journalism degree London

(L-R) Chair Andrew Greaves with Meirion Jones, Jane Bradley and Matt Burgess

To find out more about what our investigative journalism panel said, click here.

Moving from slow news to breaking news, discussing the anatomy of a news story when terrorists strike on our breaking news panel we had Guardian homepage editor Claire DalyITV Evening News editor Richard Frediani and national newspaper freelance photographer Jamie Lorriman.

(L-R) Jamie Lorriman, Claire Daly and Richard Frediani

To find out more about what our breaking news panel discussed, click here.

With news and sport ticked off we moved onto politics with The Observer columnist Nick CohenGuido Fawkesnews editor Alex WickhamThe Spectator associate editor Toby Young and Lord Stewart Wood, former advisor to Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband.

journalism degrees

(L-R) Nick Cohen, Toby Young, Lord Stewart Wood and Alex Wickham

To find out more about what our political journalism panel said, click here.

And to end the day we spoke about social media in the digital age. Discussing all things Facebook and SnapChat we had UNILAD editorial manager Ben HaywardChannel 4 head of digital Jon LaurenceVICE head of social for Europe Olly Osborne and Mike Wright, a freelance social media consultant.

journalism degree manchester

(L-R) Olly Osborne, Mike Wright, Ben Hayward and Jon Laurence

Before they went back to their busy jobs, our JournoFest speakers took the time to share their top tips for getting into journalism. Watch below to see what they said.

Top tips for getting into journalism from journalists

If all that sounds like something you want to be a part of click here to register your interest in our BA (Hons) Journalism degree.