After the breath-taking experience in London at Future News Worldwide, I can amend that my tomorrow must be brighter than today. The journey to this great life addition started as a joke. I am the kind who applies for everything on the internet. Surely this was not different, I even did not give it much reconsideration after all I have received more than enough regrets.
Journalism is a place you will rush to with passion and full package hope but not all ends in excellent triumph. The field is extremely competitive and only if you stand out, you can grab the medal. I was stunned to receive a success email from the British Council out of the 3000 applicants. After reading this, my body trembled not because I was scared but my heart could not bear the overwhelming joy.
We were lucky to have a debrief of what to expect while in London, for close to two weeks my Nights were all about the craze of what Future News Worldwide would be. How would I behave? Will the people like me? Will I mess up or how best will I use this opportunity to grow a career I am passionate about. Several questions troubled my mind and most I could not answer.
My flight was at dawn and being my first time in London, the excitement was unbearable however much I tried to cover up. The random stares and smiles gave me away. We arrived at Heathrow International Airport late in the afternoon, surprisingly the sun was still warm and evident unlike back home where at such time darkness is starting to steal us all away. We were received by a group of joyful people and in an hour’s time, we arrived at Docklands Travel Lodge where we were to spend the rest of the nights. I decided to take a nap and later join others for dinner as planned but to my surprise, I woke up the next day at 6.00 feeling cheated and a looser.
I promised myself to make use of Friday, even if it meant staying woke all day. I joined a group of young journalists for breakfast, introducing ourselves to each other, sharing contacts, talking about our work was something we could not escape. In just an hour’s time everyone was conversant with names, country and specifications like we had known each other forever. We later took a walk to tour London. The coin machines at the train station indeed played our minds, none of us knew what exactly to do until after hours of team work and putting minds together, we managed to manoeuvre. London bridge was our first point of interest, followed by Buckingham palace, the tower, convent gardens, Sky gardens of interest and we took extra ordinary pictures from different angles and unto these images I hold the best memories of my youth hood.
The first day at Reuters was amazing, the first speaker was Nick Tattersall, a journalist that has been in the profession for over 16 years and is still super passionate. Jain Screenivasan one of India’s most respected journalist dealing in crime. I later joined the team that was going to a newsroom tour where I met Jon Snow, an anchor at Channel 4 News and I wish I could narrate this entire story.
Meeting this great journalist of all times was like a dream come true. He was the first journalist to report the fall of Idi Amin which is in my interest because all that, is my country history. We were privileged to watch him do the Channel 4 News before officially meeting the Lion of the savanna. He gave us a very good reception and mastered our names at first talk. When I mentioned Uganda, he shocked my adrenaline with an acapella of the Uganda Anthem. I can gladly say my love for journalism grew too. He advised us on how to survive and reminded us that we must have hope to grow journalism to the tower. We enjoyed coffee with him, I could not stop complementing his multi coloured tie, something that makes him stand out.
We went in for practical lessons on how to use Google and Facebook to better journalism. There was so much to learn and by end of the day, I realized how I was using these tools wrongly. Facebook can grow your journalism career to heights, learning the basics, settings and utilizing the video option could be the only way you could tell your story and grow your audience. Google too has things like Google scholar that can add extra knowledge to all.
I was privileged to meet Blessing a British Council representative from Zimbabwe. A person with good character and I thought he was a delegate too because he was too humble and friendly. He made me feel comfortable in my journalism career and helped me look forward to growing my journalism thirst. We were treated to a fancy dinner at the Thames Voyage exploring London on the boat. Everything was set and we were all out there getting to know each other better and bonding closely with a share of the same passion. We had an Italian menu set before us and I took the initiative to try. Honestly, I think I am staying in my lane with the food journey.
The second day was longer than I imagined, listening and learning from various speakers like Nadine White reminding us to learn what makes us different because it is the only way to survive. Sonny Swe narrating his Speaking to spiders in Myanmar Prison and how we should speak the truth no matter what because it is what journalism stands for. During this session we were able to ask questions and ways on how to go about our aspirations in journalism.
I was privileged to talk to Alastair King Smith, a Coordinator of the Global Campaign for Media Freedom working with the British High Commission. He told us he is currently working on a media freedom campaign dubbed #Defendmediafreedom and we discussed how best we could make a difference and address this issue that is spreading like a wild fire.
We enjoyed the "Speaking to the expert" session where we met many experts in the field who gave us insights on how to grow our journalism career. The day ended with a lavish dinner at Salento Restaurant where we were able to share our last moments with other delegates. I managed to jump and shop on Oxford street where I picked plenty of souvenirs to take back home.The days were few but no regrets, I made the best of them.
What is next after FNW19?
Everyone back home flooded me with this question, finally I have some answers. On 6 August 2019, I had an Online Interview with Katrine Lyngso about Environmentalism Life of a Journalist in Uganda and Media freedom. Katrine is a delegate from Paris that I met at FNW19. On 2 August 2019, I was invited as a Guest Speaker at a Rotary fellowship to share about FNW19 and how to Use Social Media to break into the Main stream media. I am currently working on a Climate Change Campaign with a Nigerian delegate and I am hoping for more amazing opportunities like FNW.
Arinaitwe Hedwig is a Future News Worldwide 2019 participant from Uganda. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s in Journalism and Mass Communication at Kampala International University and she a community journalist at Network for Active Citizens.
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.