As I peered out of the Qatar Airways flight on 14 July, it dawned on me that I was really going to attend Future News Worldwide (FNW) 2019 in London. Last year this day, I officially started my job as a full-time copy editor at the Annapurna Express newspaper. I always knew that I wanted to create impact through my job. Little did I know that after a year, I would be landing in London, getting to meet 100 passionate journalists from around the world and receiving trainings at Reuters Headquarters from some of the best journalists! 

After landing in London on the way to our Travelodge Hotel, we passed by the Tower bridge, London bridge, I got a look at Canary Wharf where our trainings would be conducted. On the first night, I had already made friends from Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Azerbaijan despite reaching at 12 am. Everyone I met in the conference, from speakers to fellow delegates, was so heart-warming, open-minded and there was the thirst to engage in meaningful conversations in each of them. I felt welcomed!

To be honest, I wondered if in a couple of days, the conference would help develop my journalistic skills. But all my doubts vanished once I entered Reuters HQ! Gaining trainings from inspiring professionals from Reuters, Google News Lab, Facebook, Instagram and BBC Africa Eye cleared doubts I had for months about journalism and writing. 

A highlight for me was meeting Nadine White, a news reporter at HuffPost UK. "Always remember your reason. Grab opportunities with both hands. Lean into what makes you different,” suggested Nadine, and motivated us with her own examples and situations she faced as a black journalist.

Another highlight was visiting the Reuters newsroom. Before that, I had just seen their name in newspapers. Getting to witness the news being made in Reuters Headquarters made me feel like I am a part of a bigger purpose. 

The session I was really looking forward to was how to interview trauma victims. I am an emotional person and it is hard to know what the best way to deal with trauma victims is. After the session, I realized being able to put myself in someone’s shoes was an advantage because I can understand what they feel to tell their story with honesty. I learnt that while interviewing, it is helpful to let victims calm down first, build trust, offer comforting words and then proceed to ask questions.

After attending FNW, I realized what an opportunity I had been blessed with, thanks to British Council. A week talking to top journalists, touring London and making connections! I feel such workshops are important for young journalists. It is not just about the drill- finding a story idea, pitching, getting it approved, interviewing, researching, writing, editing and publishing. Like Nick Wrenn, Head of Facebook’s News Partnerships team for EMEA said, “Your story doesn’t finish when you hit ‘publish’.” FNW made me understand better that it is also about reflecting, learning and improving with every story in my career to make a better impact.

Akriti Manandhar is a Future News Worldwide 2019 participant from Nepal. She is a copy-editor of an English weekly newspaper The Annapurna Express and holds a bachelor degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Asian University for Women in Bangladesh.

Future News Worldwide is a yearly conference organised for young journalists from all around the world. The application is opened during February/March every year.