Students at the Centre for Journalism received a master class from the associate editor at Sky News today.

John McAndrew spent an hour with journalism students giving an insight into the industry and talking about how risk taking, technology and a journalist’s courage all play a part in making Sky News’ coverage stand out above the other broadcasters.

McAndrew knows what he is talking about, he worked for the BBC for over 12 years and came up with the idea for ‘The Daily Politics’ show before moving to Sky where he proceeded to edit the leaders debate during the general election in 2010. He is now the associate editor, and is responsible for the quality of Sky News’ journalism.

Sky News’ reputation is based on their remit to be ‘first for breaking news’. However getting there first with a story often means you have to take the chance on being wrong.

“You have to always take the risk,” he said, “Sky will always take the risk. That is the difference between Sky and the Beeb. If you know something then you should share it with your audience.”

“However things have changed. 10 years ago if you thought you and your source were right then you went for it. Now, reputation is everything. We need to come first with no mistakes. We can still beat the opposition. Sky is leaner and made for breaking news.”

Sky News is a commercial channel and McAndrew described how they are always seeking new, creative and innovative ideas to keep their audience interested. Compared to the BBC, Sky News is an underdog, with far fewer resources, and yet they keep winning awards for the best breaking news coverage.

McAndrews top tip for aspiring journalists: “Keep the passion alive and keep ideas coming.”

He spoke about his experiences of interviewing graduates and how the most important thing in an interview is to be engaging and to know your stuff.

“It is disheartening when somebody has a glittering CV but no passion. Don’t come in and tell me that Sky is good at breaking news,” He said.

“Tell me what we’re bad at, tell me what presenter you’d fire, what reporter gets on your nerves. Prove that you watch Sky News, that you know who our correspondents are.”

McAndrew has always aspired to be a producer and editor but it is not your standard nine to five job. He revealed the realities of journalism as a career: “If you do this job you will miss people, you will miss parties, you will miss your kids. You have to love this job.”

Sky News is launching it’s new iPhone app tomorrow – so you can have breaking news everywhere you go.

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Sky News comes to the CfJ