The Sun has given a staff job to a graduate of News UK’s journalism academy, marking the first time a student from the summer school course has landed a job on a national newspaper.
Guy Birchall, 25, has landed a reporting role on the Sun’s website, after attending the News Academy, which The Sun’s parent company News UK describes as “an innovative project aimed at nurturing the next generaion of British journalistic talent”.
News Academy, set up in 2013, involves journalists from The Sun and The Times, as well as senior News UK executives, holding classes and workshops at schools across the country trying to find new journalistic talent.
It also offers internships and work experience and those which show the most promise are offered a week-long summer placement at the academy.
Birchall said : “A year ago I was sat at home in Staffordshire two thirds of the way through a Journalism Masters wondering if I’d bitten off more than I could chew.
“Fortunately I managed to get an internship, and in June I headed down to London for two weeks at a website called Spiked Online.
“It was there that I had the luck of meeting Viv Regan, one of the organisers of the News Academy and she told me about the competition they were running with The Sun – The Great British Sound Off.
“I sent off 200 words not expecting much to come of it. Come on, the bestselling newspaper in the country, what are the chances they’d give me a shot when I was being ignored by local papers I sent my CV to? Well remarkably they thought I wasn’t all that bad and so I was selected for the News Academy’s Summer School.
“So in August I headed down to The News Building in London and was tasked with making a newspaper from scratch with a group of other aspiring journalists. What followed was one of the most intense but most fulfilling experiences of my life.
“In a whirlwind of a week I was working with some of the finest journalists in the business and meeting columnists I’d read avidly since I was a teenager. Discussing interviewing Prime Ministers and Presidents with Trevor Kavanagh was an experience I could never have achieved if not for the summer school.
“Likewise being compared to a member of Boyzone (still don’t know which one) by Robert Crampton is an experience not easily forgotten and I still don’t know if it was a compliment or not.”