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European Social Fund

Former Guardian Editor Becomes a Patron of Harlow School of Journalism

Alan Rusbridger (front, centre) with Lewis Heritage, Head of Journalism (front, left) and students from the NCTJ Journalism course.

Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, who trained to become a journalist at Harlow College, has agreed to become a patron of our School of Journalism.

Alan joins our other patron and former student, journalist and television presenter John Stapleton, in endorsing Harlow’s journalism courses and visiting the College to inspire the students.

Lewis Heritage, who heads up the Journalism department, said: “We are delighted to have two of Britain’s most prestigious journalists joining us as patrons. This is an indication of the respect our college has within the industry.”

This week Alan visited the College to speak about his life within the industry and his vision for the future. He told students this was the most exciting time to enter the profession.

Alan’s advice for future journalists was to go into a job where their interests and passions would be fulfilled. He said: “Back in the day you had to go to a newspaper in order to be a journalist but nowadays everything is media.”  

Alan hopes that the next generation of journalists will rebuild trust with the public. He told students that a recent survey indicated two thirds of adults could not tell the difference between a good and bad source of news adding “There are so many different types of journalism and we expect the public to be able to differentiate between them.”

Alan’s first talking point during his visit was about his new book Breaking News which he started writing in 1995 and concluded in 2015. 

The book, which was written throughout his time at The Guardian,  asks the question: “Where the hell is journalism going?” 

When writing the book, he looked into whether journalism outlets should be purely driven by profit or focus on fulfilling their duty as public servants. Alan said: “You don’t want to go into journalism to write rubbish, you want to go into journalism to speak the truth. “

Alan has been involved in the films The Fifth Estate and Snowdon and has written a screen play Fields of Gold.  Film star George Clooney will be portraying Alan in a film yet to be released called Phone Hacking.

A German protest band called Woog Riots even wrote a song in support of Alan called ‘Alan Rusbridger’.

Since leaving The Guardian Alan has become principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. He is also chairman of Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and is on the board of the National Theatre.

Report compiled by NCTJ Journalism students