SJR Journalism Students' Exclusive Interview With Andy Burnham
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The exclusive interview was conducted online in order to comply with Covid restrictions

(Story by Olivia Anthon, Evan Halliday and Martha Rayner - Future Journalists Elective students)

A group of keen SJR journalism students were lucky enough to secure an exclusive interview with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, as he took a breather from his hectic job to speak to the budding journalists. The students grasped this opportunity with both hands, and were able to discuss topics ranging from Andy’s own personal beliefs and values to social issues that we have all encountered during this incredibly challenging year.

As part of the college’s Future Journalists Elective course, the students were able to practice the interview techniques in which they had been trained by Karen Connolly, a professional journalist who has a wealth of experience in both print and broadcast journalism and has passed her knowledge and experience on to these lucky students. 

When being asked about what he thought was the biggest problem in UK that needs to be prioritised, Andy stated: “Inequality. Right here, right now, there is a huge gap in society between the lives of the people at the bottom and the lives of the people at the very top – it was always a big gap, but now it’s almost unbridgeable.”

The inequality that is prevalent in society is not the only issue that Andy spoke passionately about. He also mentioned how important it was for him as a political leader to stand up for the people of Greater Manchester who have been negatively affected by restrictions that have been imposed by the Government.

His charisma and genuine passion for his work and his people shone through, as Andy touched on a range of subjects from government policies, to goals scored in the previous night's Everton match. The interview was a great insight into who Andy Burnham really is and how he got to where he is today.

As a very honest and open man, he was perfectly happy to enlighten the students on what it is like to work and try to cooperate and come to a decision with people who embrace very different beliefs to him and how difficult it can be to reach a conclusion. The students were educated by Andy on politics and on everything regarding the Covid pandemic, with Andy even sharing what he wished he had done differently, and what he hoped others could do differently in response to the crisis.

The opportunity to speak first-hand with a man who started from the same point as many of the students themselves and yet has achieved so much, was incredibly inspiring for these young people, and left them with many messages to consider. This is an experience they won’t forget and which will certainly help them in their goal to pursue a career in journalism after SJR.

Click here to read a full report on the interview.