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Clickbait, content and competence – themes from a broadcasting masterclass

An audience of more than 100 young people assembled last night at the Curzon Bloomsbury for a brilliant masterclass hosted by leading media organisation, ITN, focusing on the world of news broadcasting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Channel 4 News Presenter, Krishnan Guru-Murthy chaired the panel and kicked off the evening by talking about his career path, working as a reporter at just 18 years old. Krishnan offered some key advice about starting off in the industry. “You can just do it. You can film and publish online now. My advice is to be competent, be bright and just to embrace everything and take every opportunity.”

“Do your homework. You can become a journalist by publishing your own material online. But be very careful what you publish on social media because it’s not going away and can affect your reputation.”

Second in line was Rohit Kachroo, Security Editor at ITV News who highlighted the importance of self-awareness when making your way into the industry. He advised that it is best to not be indiscriminately vocal, but to speak up and make your voice heard when you have a contact or an idea for a story.

“Brexit was a big moment for all newsrooms because it was a surprise – we didn’t see that result coming. It made everyone think ‘why aren’t we mates with the 52% who voted for Brexit?’”

Next up, was Minnie Stephenson who found her passion for reporting very early on. Whilst studying at the University of Manchester, Minnie got involved in running the student radio station which then led to her getting noticed enough to run the Breakfast Show. Working her way up from a producer at ITN, to her current role as a reporter for Channel 5 News, Minnie said “try and find a niche which makes your set yourself apart from the rest.”

“I presented Pride in London in Trafalgar Square. It’s good to have a USP as a reporter – so I’ve been focusing on LGBT issues. But remember, the story is bigger than you, so even if you it’s very close to your heart you need to remain impartial.”

Hila May, former Creative Access intern, spoke about her journey from her first role at Mentorn Media (and Creative Access intern number 500) to her recent promotion to Assistant News Editor at Channel 4 news.

“I was constantly pitching ideas, making things happen and asking people if I could go along to events. Always do more than what’s expected of you and be nice.”

Fifth in line, was Priscilla who initially started out her career as a journalist, despite opposition from her parents: “My dad told me that if I was going to go into media, I’d have to work twice as hard as the next person.”

Even tasked with jobs like photocopying she knew that the way to get noticed was to approach every task with a smile on your face. Now ITN’s Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Priscilla spoke on the current makeup of the sector:

“At entry level I think we’ve done a fantastic job bringing people in from black, Asian and mixed backgrounds. Now the challenge is to measure how those people progress into more senior roles.”

Last, but not least, Rachel Corp, Acting News Editor for ITV News spoke about her role. She maintained that the skills of journalism and telling a story will endure; “it’s hard at entry level but keep being persistent, writing and producing content with passion. It’s all about ideas and the same themes reappear throughout the years. If you have an story idea to pitch, keep it clear and concise and approach the Head of Planning or the Home News Editor. You don’t have to be loud, you just have to speak up”

“News is about light and shade. There’s room for everything because people don’t want all doom and gloom.”

The panel also gave us their thoughts on diversity in the journalism industry. Rohit’s view was

“Things have improved on the diversity front but even now the three things that will give you a leg up in the newsroom, are if you’re white, male and middle class”

On a positive note, employers are making genuine efforts to improve the diversity of their workforces. Rachel said “it’s not good enough to wait for a diverse workforce to come to you as employers we have to go out and find people.” Krishnan reiterated this; “diversity and equality applies to every sector. Most jobs are looking to improve their numbers – so this is a good time to be applying.”

After a heated and very engaged discussion, there was food, drink and an opportunity for the attendees to talk one-to-one with the panel. Massive thanks to the whole team at ITN for organising the vent and to the panel for their insightful and inspiring words:

  • Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Journalist, Channel 4 News
  • Minnie Stephenson, Reporter, Channel 5 News
  • Hila May, Assistant News Editor, Channel 4 News
  • Rachel Corp, Acting Editor, ITV News
  • Rohit Kachroo, Security Editor, Channel 4 News
  • Priscilla Baffour, ITN Diversity and Inclusion Manager