Describe your job in couple of sentences:
I’m a media consultant working with individuals, charities and innovative projects to enable them to tell their constructive stories and connect with journalists. I also promote and teach solutions journalism and write my own solutions-focused stories. Before that I worked in political communications securing press coverage for a mayoral candidate, turning policies into media stories, writing statements responding to current political events, preparing interview briefings and looking for potential opportunities for media coverage.
When did you know what you wanted to do?
I knew I wanted to be a journalist or work in the media when I was around 16.
Did you go to university, go straight into the workforce or do an apprenticeship?
I went to university, where I managed to get a casual job at the local BBC radio station as a production assistant.
What did you study?
Politics at Exeter University then Journalism at City University. As part of the journalism course, I did 2 internships – one in Canadian TV and radio, and the other at BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
What was your first job?
Gap year receptionist at a TV production company.
Does it relate to what you do now?
It gave me an early insight into the world of the media.
Have you done other jobs in your life – if so what were they?
I’ve worked for the BBC as a radio reporter and a radio producer. I’ve worked in politics as a head of communications and campaigns. And I’ve worked in the charity sector, highlighting the positive impact of charities and volunteers, and promoting ‘constructive journalism’ including giving talks to journalism students.
Did they have any influence on what you do now?
I’ve seen journalism from both sides of the process – as the person looking for stories and as the person wanting to tell their story. I think has helped me do my job better.
How did you find out about your job (how it existed)?
I created it as I saw a gap in the media market and wanted to help people directly to get their voices heard.
How did you get the job you wanted- steps and process?
I knew it would be tough breaking into the media so I got started quite early building up my work experience. While still at school I volunteered for hospital radio, I got a gap year job in a TV production company and I managed to work for the local BBC radio station where I went to university. These also illustrated my commitment to journalism which helped me get onto a post graduate radio journalism course, at City University. As part of the course we were sent to local radio stations to do short internships and I was lucky enough to get a job out of it, at BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. I’d got my foot on the ladder.
What qualities do you need to have to be successful in your field?
Persistence, curiosity, ability to see through the crap and pinpoint the golden nugget that makes the story.
Give 3 tips for someone hoping to follow in your footsteps:
- Demonstrate your interest in journalism by getting involved with your school or college paper or radio/tv station. Do your own pieces of writing, interviewing or video stories. Suggest a regular slot you could handle.
- Find a media outlet you like, think about why you like it and what sort of stories they do – and also what they aren’t covering. See if they offer internships. Whether they do or don’t, write to the editor and tell them why you like their work – and suggest (politely) something you could do that would bring a different voice/perspective to their coverage.
- Check out Press Pad – https://presspad.co.uk/– they offer internship accommodation, networking and mentoring to aspiring journalists.
Who inspires you?
That’s a hard one. There are so many great journalists around. Some of my favorites are Fatima Manji of Channel 4 News for her trail-blazing, Emily Maitlis of Newsnight for her pithy questioning and Carole Cadwalladr of the Guardian for her fearlessness. And Marina Hyde for making us laugh as she lays bare the horrifying inadequacies of our politicians.