BBC’s Fierce Women in Media workshops on 5th March at took me to a new understanding of representation.
It’s unusual for me to be in a journalistic territory or anywhere really and have the panel be all female and the audience 90% female too. I felt like the space created gave an opportunity for new people to the media game an insightful -and helpful- leg in.
Wishes were granted at the drop of a hat from ‘women that can’ and it was refreshing to see. There was a built up ‘sisterhood’ of women supporting women, or was that just the privilege that men hiring men feel every day? A simple ‘I know someone who can help you with that, meet me afterwards’ or a ‘you can come and shadow with me’ is invaluable in such a competitive industry like media, and yet these favours were handed out so nonchalantly to fledgling girls leaving university/college or just starting out after a major career change. I loved it.
As someone who wants to get into political journalism, it’s a hardball game to play. You make a lot of deals with the devil simply because you need your name known and take jobs purely based on the fact that you’ve got a gas bill to pay. I don’t have a broadcasting degree, I don’t have a BBC background, I can give you examples of my experience on my fingers. All of these are major stumbling blocks but (surprisingly) still not a career over before its started. One thing these workshops has equipped me with is a direction of how to get myself out there and how you can too.
The day had a packed programme and I was fortunate enough to cherry-pick which events I went to.
During the ‘Women in Media: who are we and what do we do?’ Workshop I was simply blown away. I found true inspiration in Fiona Campbell, BBC3’s controller who is in charge of commissioning content for the channel. She spoke about her previous work and early life, and had words of wisdom which really resounded with me. Her message of working out what you don’t want to do is probably more important that knowing specifically what you do want to do, and to not stress if your career isn’t progressing at ten billion miles per hour.
Darcia Martin – television producer, also provided great insight into the world of TV from a black female perspective. How to overcome barriers being a woman and being black in a white, middle class male dominated industry hasn’t been easy, but she’s done it regardless and incredibly successfully so. One message resonated through all of the women’s talks I heard which was, ‘work hard and keep going’.
From the whole day I’ve made a list of top tips, should you also be considering a career in the media:
- Know what your focus is
- Try everything, and from here work out exactly what you don’t want to do
- If you feel something strongly enough, have the confidence to say it
- Don’t rush through your career, enjoy each step
- Develop projects around your own passions
- Your integrity is everything
- It’s great to be first in a story, but it’s better to be right
- Keep trying, send in your CVs constantly
- Make people remember you for the right reasons
The encouragement to engage with local media outlets like BBC3 and 7Wonder were incredible, local talent is being sought constantly from camera operators to runners to content creators. If you’re Birmingham based and looking to get into media, there’s no better time than right now.