We have learnt so much from our interviewees after the past six months: here’s the best from series one.
The irresistible pull to tell stories and share voices
For many, the urge to pick up a pen and tell stories felt like it was born with them. We’ve seen how they’ve picked up video cameras and made documentaries as kids, been inspired into journalism by witnessing events, or wrote childhood novels because they simply had to tell a story.
But some never thought their aspirations would ever be possible for them. The Daily Mail’s Isaan Khan always wanted to be a journalist despite coming from an economically disadvantaged area. His tenacity to make it in journalism finally got him recognised with a scholarship supported by the Mail and Stephen Lawrence Foundation.
Others fell into it, like the Evening Standard’s Abbianca Makoni. She thought she’d be a radiographer like her mother, but a life-changing episode gave her a different perspective. “It wasn’t until after my first year at sixth form when I lost a friend to knife crime that I started to take journalism seriously”, she said, taking on work experience and eventually joining the Evening Standard’s apprentice scheme.
Whatever your background, journalism matters
There was one question, however, whose answer was unequivocal: journalism matters. But that means different things for different people. For some, it means holding power to account; The Guardian’s technology editor Alex Hern explained: “Without journalism, our view of the world – even our very understanding of the truth – is shaped by what those in power want us to know.”
For others, it’s about stories and voices. Here’s Metro’s features director Claie Wilson: “It matters because we give people a voice to tell their story. In turn, that experience may help so many others and that can be life-changing, even lifesaving.”
For The Times’ Janice Pereira, however, journalism matters because it helps us understand ourselves and our values. She said: “The rigour of journalism and the trust that this gives rise to means that it plays an important role in calibrating society’s moral compass, which is vital in a living, breathing, progressing democracy.”
Young journalists master the multi-platform media mix
It’s not just about our intrepid writers, though. Journalism and news brands in 2021 are a lot more than print and paper.
Fadumo Olow, our very first guest, is The Telegraph’s Women Sport social media editor and uses social media to tell stories to untapped audiences. Olow explained: “to me, being a journalist is about sharing those good stories and bringing balance with positive or feel-good stories or memes.”
Laurence Topham, The Guardian’s video special projects editor, knew he wanted to be a filmmaker, but he only found the hands-on experience he craved at a news brand. He got that moment when he was covering celebrations of President Obama’s election victory in Chicago in 2008, capturing through film the jubilation of a small crowd celebrating in a bar on Chicago’s South Side, well away from the huge crowds waiting for Obama’s victory speech.
What can we expect next?
We always ask our interviewees what exciting projects they have coming up the pipeline. In the time since we’ve published our interviews, many have now since been released: Topham’s My Brother’s Keeper came out in February. Keep an eye out for Rhian Lubin’s international project at the Mirror, giving a platform to younger voices on climate change and international development.
There are plenty of campaigns to watch out for, too: Natasha Clark and The Sun’s ‘Show some bottle’ drive is urging the government to implement a bottle deposit scheme to encourage more recycling. Meanwhile, Wilson is working on Metro’s ‘Lifeline’ campaign, this year focussed on helping Medical Protection Dogs sniffing out serious diseases such as cancer and Covid. Finally, Steph Spyro’s work on ‘Fair deal for students’ for the Daily Express continues to look out for young people’s mental health.
The most important question: gym or gin?
And finally, as the world starts to unlock and something vaguely resembling leaving the house happens once more, we asked the all-important question: gin or gym?
Agonisingly, after six months of interviews, 14 guests and a nervous tension rising, a definitive answer still eludes us: six votes for gym, six votes for gin. Some people voted for both, so it’s clear even our guests struggled to decide. The clash of the titans rumbles onto round two…
Catch up with all our amazing ’10 minutes with’ interviews from our first series here.