Jamila Zeynalzada, the Future News Worldwide 2019 conference participant, shares her story about how the programme will help her and other young journalists in Azerbaijan take action and make society more analytical, informed and conscious about what they read online.
The programme immediately appealed to me as I suddenly had a fantastic opportunity to learn directly from the leading professionals of media world. Interacting with world-famous journalists like Christina Lamb, Sreenivasan Jain, Nadine White and others was once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and gave me a very in-depth outlook into the new approaches and developments in the world of media.
I was particularly engaged by the session focused on “fake news,” since it is my personal conviction that fair, authentic and factually valid journalism can directly contribute to the democratic development of any society. This is what I’m aspiring to achieve in Azerbaijan in my future career.
In addition to the conference sessions, the chance to network with like-minded young people from around the world was an extremely valuable experience. I learned more about the places which do not feature prominently in the global news - our conversations with a fellow participant from Sudan, for instance, gave me a remarkable insight into the struggle of the Sudanese people for human rights and justice.
The first day of the trip was dedicated to networking and exploring London together - sightseeing and experiencing the blend between history and modernity in the UK was an added value of the programme.
The next day of the summit involved visits to the newsrooms and attending workshops featuring some of the biggest names in journalism, with speakers from Thomson Reuters, NDTV, The Sunday Times and more. The sessions delivered by Google News Initiative, Facebook, the UK Schools of Journalism and Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma offered ample time for questions and satisfied my burning questions about journalism in 2019. During the session titled “The social newsgathering and verification techniques,” I delved into the discussion about detecting misinformation and the steps that should be taken to authenticate and verify sources of information. This session helped me understand ways to develop a social “immune system” against the “fake news” in my country, mobilising people to be analytical, informed and conscious about falsification in the media. On the second day, we explored the growing role of the search engines and social technologies in shaping the future and the present of modern journalism. Together with my fellow journalists and presenters, I discussed how social media can be improved to allow for highest-quality coverage to gain more visibility and how to make data more protected.
The diversity of the participants was what made my trip so engaging and memorable. Now, I can boldly say that I have friends from every continent of our planet! We discussed different issues facing our world today and it was impressive to see how common values bring us together, making us united but unique at the same time.
I was extremely happy to be selected to participate at the conference and felt it was well worth my time and effort to apply. I learnt new solutions and best practice strategies that can be implemented to achieve diversity and development of journalism in my country. I was very pleased with all that I got at the Future News Worldwide 2019 and I hope to attend it in future again as a successful alumna of the programme, sharing my noteworthy experience in my home country.