COVID-19 has dominated the news and affected pretty much everyone’s lives. One group that is bearing the brunt of lockdown are students -- with this article focusing on students who hope to pursue a media career -- who have had applications and internships postponed indefinitely. However, this doesn’t mean an end to your journalistic career before it’s begun! GGM UK has some fantastic resources to help you.
In a series of Master classes in May, GGM UK welcomed four female BBC staff members to speak with GGM UK alumni. They all expressed how COVID-19 does not have to spell an end to creativity. In fact, it can be a way for young creatives to get ahead.
The first speaker, Josie Verghese, is head of BBC Young Reporter, a journalism and media scheme which shares the stories of 11-18 year olds. Young Reporter are looking for stories at this present moment, so if you want your voices to be heard, please follow GGM UK on Twitter (https://twitter.com/GGMediaUK) for more details. Josie suggests making work simple and accurate, which is easier to achieve by getting a second pair of eyes to read over it. Simplicity should be at the centre of COVID-19 content. You can use a phone to film and voice notes to record. Some useful sites to check out include: UK Screen Skills (https://www.screenskills.com/), Media Trust (https://mediatrust.org/), Creative Access (https://creativeaccess.org.uk/) and Mama Youth (http://www.mamayouth.org.uk/). Creative Access provides details of available internships on a regular basis, and I would highly recommend it, from personal experience.
The second guest was Bernadette Kitterick, who is part of the BBC Newsgathering team. She recommends calling up local or hospital radio stations to see if they would like any help with reporting. It is a great way to learn the ropes, during what is a busy time for journalists. She cites Twitter as a great way to find about internships, message and speak to former media trainees and follow media professionals. Social media can also been used to reach out to people who have an interesting story to share.
The third guest was Carol Shay, a BBC News Director. She argues that aspiring TV journalists should go out and film what they can, whether it be busy streets or empty parks, and echoing Josie, she agrees all that is needed is a smart phone.
The BBC are currently running the 'Make a Difference' campaign via Radio 1 online, where the public are encouraged to send in their isolation tips, podcasts, music, poetry etc — Other sites which are actively looking for content are email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, so this is the perfect time to get work published. She says that having volunteer work on your CV can be just as useful as work experience in the media sector. It shows that people are grabbing opportunities and learning skills that are applicable to working for the BBC — teamwork, organisation, leadership, empathy and good communication.
A sentiment agreed upon by both Bernadette and Carol is to produce content on topics that you are most interested in and pitch to publications by tailoring ideas to their specifications. Pitches should be one to two sentences, involve a compelling story and writers should always have their target audience in mind.
Our last speaker was Abi Mroczynska, who is involved in the technical side of BBC World Arabic. She states that a tough skin is needed to break into a tough industry. This tough skin can be developed through gaining as much work experience as you can. Young creatives need to keep their eyes peeled for training schemes and apprenticeships. Being able to speak a foreign language can be extremely beneficial for getting ahead in the industry, especially if you want to work for the BBC World service team. Make use of any cameras, phones and free editing apps to produce content. However, she implores people to also take some pleasure from the media. She recommends the podcast, ‘The Real Story’ on BBC Stories. It revolves around experts discussing a current news story. One is on the impact that coronavirus is having on the aviation industry. It is worth a listen.
It was surreal hearing from staff members from the BBC and feeling as though I was with them during their media journeys. The series highlighted the multitude of jobs available in the industry and opportunities to grasp in the comfort of your own home, so there is something for everyone to make their own.
AUTHOR: Danielle Desouza
I am a 22 year old Politics and Communication Masters student at LSE, makeshift musician and aspiring political broadcaster. I am a staunch supporter of both gender and racial equality, being female and Indian. I want to edge closer to this goal daily by bringing to light injustices, through all forms of journalism.