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In the news - media insights for Young Journalist finalists

24/11/2023

The three finalists for the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist of the Year 2023 enjoyed an action-packed trip to London which included meeting the Queen, visits to the BBC, Channel 4 and The Guardian and the chance to sample some British pub grub.

Runner-up in the competition, Jamaima Afridi from Pakistan described the trip as the most productive days ever'. Along with her fellow runner-up, Zuha Siddiqui from Pakistan and winner Yara El Murr from Lebanon, the trio got inside tips on how to pitch stories, made some invaluable contacts and in the process became firm friends.

Meeting Her Majesty The Queen

Making headlines The three journalists were able to experience first-hand how UK newsrooms are coping with the enormous pressures of trying to comprehensively cover international events like the Israel-Gaza war and the conflict in Ukraine as well as the British domestic agenda.

In the BBC newsroom

At Channel 4 news

I hope this trip paves the way for future opportunities and collaboration

Zuha Siddiqui

Senior journalists, presenters and producers generously gave their time to talk through the news processes including story selection and verification.

I particularly enjoyed learning about Channel 4's editorial process and the conversation we had with editors at The Guardian, says Zuha. I hope this trip paves the way for future opportunities and collaboration.

Meeting Zahra Joya at Thomson Foundation s office

One particular highlight was a private meeting with Afghan journalist Zahra Joya. Zahra is founder and editor-in-chief of Rukhshana Media, a news agency reporting on life for women and girls in Afghanistan. She is now in London having fled the Taliban.

I really enjoyed and felt inspired by our conversation with Zahra, says Yara. Her strength and perseverance are phenomenal.

Thomson Foundation prides itself on nurturing and supporting young journalists and providing practical skills training. So the trio were treated to a masterclass in data visualisation led by Jola Piesakowska, one of Thomson's training experts.

A data visualisation masterclass

It was the first visit to London for both Yara and Jamaima. Time was made in the busy schedule for fun and sightseeing. Thankfully the temperamental November weather was kind and Yara thought the capital looked beautiful'.

I loved my trip to the UK, she says. Everyone at the Thomson Foundation was so friendly and helpful.

Yara, who received her accolade at the Foreign Press Association Media Awards where Her Majesty The Queen was guest of honour, says her favourite part has been getting to know Zuha and Jamaima.

[They] are both incredible and I feel so lucky that I can now count on these brilliant women to support each other in our journey, says Yara.

Young Journalist Award The Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award is an annual competition organised in partnership with the UK's Foreign Press Association (FPA). It is open to journalists aged 30 and under, from countries with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of less than USD20,000. The 2024 competition will open in the summer.

Yara El Murr wins Young Journalist Award 2023

Jamaima Afridi YJA finalist 2023

Zuha Siddiqui YJA finalist 2023

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