This is a guest blog from Laura Guest, a Year 12 student and a Senior Lead Learner at RSA Academy in Tipton.
Students from RSA Academy, Tipton with John Ryley from Sky News
On Wednesday 11th June, ten students from the RSA Academy (including myself) attended a conference in the RSA building in London. The conference was with John Ryley, the current head of Sky News, and we learnt about his vision for the future of Sky, TV Broadcasting and journalism as a profession.
He first spoke in great detail about why Sky News was so important to us and why he felt so passionately about it. He explained how they have journalists stationed all over the world in order to bring us relevant news as soon as possible. Sky gives us an unbiased view on the current news stories so that the audience at home can formulate their own opinions about the events without being led to think a certain way. This was something that Mr Ryley was very proud of, as some countries still don’t have freedom of speech. Mr Ryley described Sky News as always hurrying to keep up with the technological trends, creating Apps for mobile devices as well as a 24-hour broadcasting period in order to keep up with the increasing population who watch programs on demand, so don’t watch the news in the thirty minute time slots. Mr Ryley believed that the internet and mobile devices wouldn’t decrease the amount of time people spent watching the news on television and said that studies have shown that the more in touch with the internet we are, the thirstier we are for news, both national and international.
“I want you to think about your own living room. Have you noticed how your sofas and suites are situated so that you are facing the television?”
He then went on to say how the future of journalism was a bright one, mostly for the benefit of young people like ourselves who could be considering pursuing journalism for future career prospects. Shortly afterwards, in a similar style to a press conference, a few members of the audience were selected to ask the head of Sky News their questions. Issues were raised such as the public right to news; is there ever a time when the news should be kept hidden from the public? What was the nature of the rivalry between Sky News and the BBC? Did Sky ever try to ‘steal’ a news story from another news broadcaster? How was Sky expanding overseas?
One of our own students, Parliamentary Leader Venandah Madanhi, posed a question about how youth were portrayed in the news and media under violent and anti-social stereotypes and whether Mr Ryley thought this had anything to do with the small percentage of people under 25 watching the news regularly. His reply was that young people did tend to get a bad reputation in the news but that he hoped this would change in the upcoming years as they were trying to find and direct more relevant news to young people.
Overall, the experience was a fantastic one. Not only did we get a tour of the RSA Building and a glimpse of the history within, we were able to make contact with John Ryley as well as other journalists and TV and radio presenters who could give us an insight into life as a journalist and how to get into the news business.
RSA Academy in Tipton is part of the RSA Family of Academies along with Whitley Academy, Arrow Vale RSA Academy and Ipsley CE RSA Academy. For more information please see our web pages.