Exploring Political Journalism: My Masterclass with Eleni Courea

Sabrina (she/her) is a second-year undergraduate studying BSc (Hons) International Political Economy at City, University of London. Alongside her studies, she holds various roles including Communications Assistant, Widening Participation Ambassador, and volunteer positions such as mentor for CityBuddy and Debate Mate, as well as involvement in the Wandsworth Youth Council. She previously did spring insight programmes and internships with the Civil Service, Schroders, American Express and RPC. With a passion for education and community empowerment, Sabrina joined the Patchwork Masterclass Programme to refine existing skills and gain new ones crucial for her future as a changemaker.

When the opportunity arose to attend Eleni Courea’s Masterclass at The Guardian as part of the Patchwork Masterclass programme, I jumped at the chance. Rushing from work to the tube, my anticipation grew with each step towards the Guardian’s office. From Ms Courea’s early days as an intern at Cyprus Mail to a Political Reporter at The Times to her current role at The Guardian, Ms Courea’s path underscored the multifaceted nature of political journalism and the dynamic experiences it offers. As someone fascinated by media and communications, alongside my studies in politics, I knew this session held the promise of invaluable insights.

Ms Courea’s introduction to her role as a Political Correspondent set the stage for an evening of enlightenment. With enthusiasm and passion, the discussion peeled back the layers of political journalism, offering glimpses into what the day looks like, and the challenges and triumphs faced in reporting in an ever-changing political arena. One of the themes we discussed was maintaining impartiality on issues that may be important to an individual. As someone with a strong interest in storytelling and communication, I understand the importance of presenting information objectively. Ms Courea’s emphasis on fact-based reporting resonated with me, reminding me of the integrity that lies at the heart of effective communication in any field. It was clear that upholding impartiality in journalism is about reporting the facts, committing to integrity, ensuring that her audience receives information free from bias, and empowering them to form their own informed opinions. 

Navigating politics hinges on an individual’s political engagement. I’ve always seized the chance to step beyond my comfort zone; this is a talent I decided to hone while participating in Patchwork’s Masterclass programme. When advising young individuals who aspire to enter the realm of British politics and journalism, the session touched upon engaging in grassroots political activities, such as canvassing, as an excellent means of becoming connected with local parties at a community level. I agreed with this because I have canvassed with Patchwork in my local boroughs of Wandsworth and Merton and had the opportunity to speak with people from various backgrounds, explore the subtleties behind different policies and political perspectives, and gain an accurate grasp of how the British political system works.

As a digital native, I’ve also witnessed the rapid changes in how we consume information. One of our discussions centred on the rise of AI in media. This lent itself to a conversation about the key benefits and challenges AI brings to the field, where we discussed the development of AI tools used for transcription, making translating video content into written information more efficient. The insights into embracing innovation in journalism, from AI tools to multimedia content, got me thinking about the exciting possibilities that lie ahead in media and politics.

My final key takeaway from the Masterclass is to be confident in your work. My question at the end of the session opened up a discussion on the challenges in one’s early career. The advice to be professional, be confident in your work, and foster relationships resonated with me. I saw this as a powerful illustration of tenacity and resilience—two qualities that are crucial for success that I will continue to employ as I advance through the Patchwork Masterclass programme, knowing they’ll be fundamental in navigating my time at university and future career. 

Overall, Eleni Courea’s Masterclass was a thought-provoking experience that left me feeling inspired and empowered. The lessons learned during this session will undoubtedly shape my career in the future.