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November 8, 2013updated 09 Nov 2013 3:12pm

News UK journalists will go back to school as part of News Academy scheme

By Darren Boyle

Top journalists from the Sun, The Times and Sunday Times will be visiting their old schools in a bid to encourage teenagers to consider becoming journalists.

News UK has created the News Academy which will establish links with at least 350 schools across Britain and Ireland in a bid to identify the best fresh talent.

Guto Harri, News UK’s director of communications, told Press Gazette that even he will be going to his old school.

“I will be going to Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari in the Welsh valleys. We are looking for our staff to go to a local school or their old school and establish links and tell them about journalism as a career.

“Gordon Smart has taken over at the Sun in Scotland and you can be sure he’ll be able to give an inspiring presentation to his old school. They’ll want to know all about the celebrities he has interviewed.

“We have had a great response from our staff. We have committed funding for a three year project and in that time we hope to have worked with at least 3,000 students across the UK and Ireland.”

Harri said News UK was establishing a dedicated website to showcase the best work from the aspiring journalists, the best of whom will be offered an internship at one of the group’s newspapers.

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He said making a direct approach to schools and offering  workshops could prompt students into considering a career in journalism.

The scheme will be open to students aged between 15 and 18.

“This is about showing the real need for good quality curated journalism and ensuring the continuing food chain of young journalists.

“It is also a chance to show them what makes a story, the need for ethics and how to build contacts.”

This summer, News UK held the first Future of Journalism conference along with the Young Journalists’ Academy, with students spending a day at the Thomas More headquarters.

The scheme is being officially launched in the New Year.

The best and the brightest students will be offered the chance to attend intensive week-long summer schools in one of News UK’s offices as well as internships.

Said Harri: “Our experience so far has been very positive. We want to secure a future for news journalism. For that we need people who want to pay for our newspapers as well as journalists, sub editors and photographers

News UK will be working alongside the Young Journalists’ Academy to run the scheme.

Viv Regan, director of YJA said: “For years we have been working hard to create opportunities for young talented journalists who want a career in this industry. The News Academy will provide the best opportunity to do just that.”

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