Six months ago I was an amateur in the media field. For so long I had knocked on the door of the media industry and was continually rejected. My heart grew sour; the ability to march on despite the continual knock backs began to bruise me. I did not know if I had much fight left.
Yet, after years of trying I stumbled across London360. Quickly I was given the interview, a few days later I was told I had been given the opportunity. I was ecstatic! Finally someone had taken note of my passion for media and gave me a welcoming first step into that door. Nepotism is certainly an issue in the industry. As someone who studied at Oxford University I have often felt disillusioned by how difficult it has been to break into media. This is because as my education has been perceived as elitist due to its global ranking. Although I have been blessed, through hard work and a wonderful supportive family, to gain access to this University, I was not from the same ‘elitist’ families that many of my colleagues were. Whilst many believe that those who study at Oxford have a mass network of connections, I had none. My mother is a teacher, my father unemployed. Instantly, then, when I applied for experience it seemed as though my University degree was a discredit to my experience. I was overqualified and, most probably, could make my own way. Sadly, I couldn’t. I do not have the elitist network despite my incredibly privileged education.
Rejection after rejection. Until, finally, my saving grace came along. I found the opportunity to apply for London360 via Facebook and it was my beacon of hope! The chance to learn how to edit, shoot, learn about media law, content and even have your own shows out on London Live TV and Community Channel TV! What more of a head start could a person desperate to get into media want?
I applied and was invited to interview. Then, I got the call saying I had been given the opportunity I had craved for for so long!
In January my six month internship began. I met my colleagues I would be working with : Hannah, Kate, Afia, Joe and Bethel.
We began with masterclasses in order to be taught the tools of the trade by professionals. This was in the space of a month, so it was intense but necessary in order for us to be given the time to start our documentaries.
We were taught by Vivien Morgan, who taught us how to break news stories and create grid scripts, Holly Powell-Jones, who taught use media law, Andrew Davies, who taught us digital media, Nigel Gregory, who taught us how to shoot and edit, and many more. This was so that we had our 360 understanding of media. We could then begin writing blogs, filming, creating, producing and engaging with the next step of our media training.
After the masterclasses were over and we were suitably equipped, we began as a team to start constructing documentary ideas.
Our first show was on Technology. We spent time mind-mapping and constructing the narrative. After this we created a grid script and began sourcing the right people to talk to. This led us talking to the CEO of Stemette’s, Ann-Marie Imafidon, the CEO of Fingopay, Nick Dryden, who has invented a way of paying with your vein patterns, robot experts from across the field, science experts from King’s College London and many more fascinating people. Our aim was to show how technology has shaped, is shaping and will shape London. As the overall content producer I was impressed with the resulting final edit of the show. The breadth of content and inclusion of issues in technology such as gender equality meant that it covered the grounds of the hidden communities in our city. It taught me how wonderful the capital is and why I am proud to call London my home.
Our second show focused on Religion. Again, the same process ensued. I originally pitched the idea for religion because I had read Nietzsche’s work and was intrigued by his statement: ‘God is dead and we have killed him.’ I was intrigued to discover with my team whether this was true of London. With the rise of Islamaphobia and the general disinterest in God that I had experienced at Oxford, I wanted to find out for myself what the state of religion was in 21st London.
As the presenter, I interviewed Stephen Bullivant, a professor of theology at St. Mary’s University. He told us that religiosity and the rise of it in the capital was purely due to immigration. Without immigration God, as Nietzche said, may certainly have been dead in the city. We spoke to a plethora of people from Guvna B, a Christian rapper and Hayley Melunda, a young girl who had been saved by God before committing suicide.
My package was focused on Lesser Known Religions. I was particularly intrigued by the 5% that were referred to as ‘other’ in religious surveys. My research led me to paganism, the Baha’i and Aetherius Society. I do not want to give too much away, but you can find out some of the interesting facts in my other blog posts or tune in to our religion special! To give a brief insight, the Aetherius Society are a fascinating religion that believe in an interplanetary parliament and pray to a spiritual power battery. They were a truly fascinating religion to find!
The ultimate success story, however, was the panel discussion. Set in the Library in Covent Garden, I was in a panel with an Imam, Rabbi and Priest. I asked them questions about radicalisation, mistreatment of children, community and other subjects that I believed Londoner’s wanted to get answers on. It taught me how to be professional whilst also being sensitive to others in my presentation of the discussion. The team and I learnt a lot from this and that is something I will never forget.
Our final show was on Knife Crime. By this point of our skills with the camera, researching and editing had improved massively. We were ready to start doing the more emotional subjects. Of course, talking to victims of knife crime and listening to those who had been effected by knife crime is challenging for any human being with empathy. As the producer of the Victims package, I learned how to keep my emotions hidden when filming such an emotional story. It was important to do so in order to get the most powerful soundbites possible without making the victim uncomfortable. With the report of Sadiq Khan recently coming out, our research skills and ability to quickly process information meant we shifted the narrative slightly but did so with efficiency. I am incredibly proud of my team!
My colleague Hannah and I also took the cameras to Grenfell Towers. This was the most heartbreaking breaking news story of this year. To be involved in the emotions; anger, turmoil, resentment, sadness, was overwhelming. By this point, however, I knew how to approach people sensitively in order to gauge what was happening and find the best soundbites for our news report. Hannah and I, I believe, did a really great job of a tragic news story. I learned more than how to make a news report. I learned that media has the power to save; to enrich people’s lives. Our report may not have been seen by millions of people. Those who had seen it, however, were aware of the difficulties of people in that community. I learned how important it is to give love and care, something that is not merely done by charity, but can also be done when we relay the most truthful news stories to a mass audience. My heart broke for the people there, but I felt that our little input at least gave a voice to those who had been so cruelly silence.
So, to sum it all up. It has been amazing at London360. Amazing is such a boring, mundane word. Yet, it encompasses how I feel. Not only has it consolidated my love for media but I have been enriched by my experiences. I can now shoot. I can now edit. I can now research, set up interviews, find locations, fill in grid scripts, construct narratives. These are the hard skills that will enable me to now work well in media. But that is not what it’s all about. I have learned about religion, the struggles of people in my city, the improvements of science and technology, the disasters people face. Through that I have learned patience, love and kindness.
I will now work in this industry with professional skills and a heart that will allow me to ensure that, wherever I work, justice and truth is given to all who I come across.