Impact News

Impact Virtual Conference 2020 – Day Two

Impact's Media Conference TV talk with Mojo Abidi, Edward Lawrence, Karl Warner and Priscilla Ng’ethe.
Robyn Walford

After the successes of day one and the introduction to radio broadcasting, the second day of the conference turned its focus to TV and print media. Joined by individuals from the industries, the talks offered insight into the world on and off screen as well as discussing freelancing, networking and getting your foot in the door.

Traditional TV channels have seen viewer numbers skyrocket

The first session focused on Television broadcasting featuring special guests Mojo Abidi (Presenter and Producer at ITV News), Edward Lawrence (Senior Foreign Camera journalist editor for the BBC), Karl Warner (Controller of E4) and Priscilla Ng’ethe (Broadcast journalist at BBC Africa). The discussion centred around how to get your foot in the door and the implications of Coronavirus on the industry.

Since lockdown began, traditional TV channels have seen viewer numbers skyrocket as more people are at home, enjoying re-runs of their favourite shows. People have been been demanding more extensive coverage on TV as a way of trying to seek out answers during the pandemic.

Panellists also discussed that, whilst work experience may be tricky to get in the current climate, creating your own content and utilising social media to get it noticed is a great way to get started. They stressed the importance of pitching articles ideas as most people in the media industry start out by freelancing.

Top tips of the hour:

  • Look around and find the right person to mentor you and latch onto them.
  • Enthusiasm and passion go a long way, even over people with industry training.
  • Do something that feels authentic to you and when people say you can message them for help and advice actually do it!

One of the most interesting topics covered in the hour was ‘impact vs income’

The conference concluded with the highly anticipated print journalism webinar. Emily and Natasha were joined by Jonathan Nunn (Food and City writer and editor), Alice Hutton (Freelance writer), Jessica Elgot (Acting deputy political editor at The Guardian), and Lizzie Frainier (Senior content editor at Telegraph Travel). The session looked primarily at the struggles print media are facing in the current climate and how to get into the industry.

Impact’s Media Conference Print talk with Lizzie Frainer, Alice Hutton, Jessica Elgot and Jonathan Nunn.

One of the most interesting topics covered in the hour was ‘impact vs income’. With the lack of revenue from advertising and people no longer buying newspapers religiously, many mainstream news sites are beginning to introduce subscription services. However, many people are reluctant to pay for these news sites as historically since going online, mainstream media has been free to all.

The paywalls introduce the dilemma of ‘impact vs income’; if news sites decide to introduce a paywall, their reach will not be as wide and consequently the impact of their reporting will be reduced greatly.

Conversely, in an industry where salaried, full-time jobs are highly limited already, the reduction in income is causing these media outlets to make even more cuts.  It is definitely a real dilemma for the print industry.

Another interesting point for those wishing to enter the world of print journalism was the lack of support for freelancers throughout the pandemic. If you decide to follow this route, there is no safety net, therefore it is wise to ensure you have a number of different income streams.

The debate on whether a master’s qualification in journalism is valuable also cropped up. The panellists concluded that if you wish to enter news journalism, it is probably quite important to do the qualification. However, if you are interested more in other areas, short courses in Media law and shorthand will likely suffice.

Nobody cares if the publication is unglamorous as it is a good way in

Top tips of the hour:

  • Spend time looking through the magazine section at the local newsagents and find a niche publication you are interested in. This could be a good way to get in as smaller publications will have less applicants.
  • Utilise your social media and Twitter in particular.
  • Start small and local. Nobody cares if the publication is unglamorous as it is a good way in.

Robyn Walford

Images courtesy of Lauren McGaun. No changes were made to these images.

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