We all need some inspiration every once in a while, don't we? That little reminder, that little push that makes you have self-belief and the comfort in knowing that what you want to achieve is never impossible. And that is exactly what I found myself feeling on Monday evening, as I sat down in the TV Studio at Middlesex University awaiting well-known Sky News anchor Gillian Joseph and BBC London's Sports News Correspondent Adrian Warner to be interviewed by BBC London's Special Correspondent and Middlesex University Professor, Kurt Barling.
First steps on the career ladder
I was very eager to hear what Gillian Joseph had to say, mainly because I aspire to be like her at some point during my career. As the session began, Kurt Barling questioned the famed news anchor on why she chose journalism as her career. Gillian had initially strived to become a writer, although she quickly comments "I realised that there was nothing worse than sitting and staring at a blank page, waiting for inspiration". Following a postgraduate degree at City University in Broadcast Journalism, Gillian went on to work for the BBC for the next 15 years following a training period with them. On that note she discussed how upon completion of her training, there was no job offer as she expected considering all the time and money spent. "I contacted the BBC and told them that they must have something for me to do. It's vital to push at those closed doors."
Whilst Kurt Barling commented that those 'closed doors' still continue to exist today, it was an essential piece of advice from an individual that has made herself so successful. This made me think about the various times I've been rejected, or when things haven't gone to plan. It made me realise that even when you don't get what you want or expect, it doesn't mean you should accept the situation. If you are passionate enough, you must show it and surely enough, Gillian then went on to spend 15 years at BBC.
For Adrian Warner, he discussed how the ability to speak other languages -French and German- kept him one step ahead of others. Following completion of the Reuters Graduate Training Scheme, Adrian secured a job in 1986 as a foreign correspondent working as a reporter for the next decade. His moment to shine came when he had to cover the Seoul Olympics in 1988, resulting in him covereing every Olympics and World Cup since then. Currently working at the BBC as their Sports News Correspondent, Kurt questioned Warner on the transition into broadcast journalism.
Glancing at Gillian, Adrian said: "I liked your world! " As soon as he said that, he reminded us all that there will always be challenges faced.
"I quickly realised on my first day that I had made a big mistake. There was such bizarre language and terminology involved. Making it into television was quite hard; it's like changing a golf swing."
"What difference is there between the BBC and Sky News?" Kurt asked. "I think that Sky is a hungrier animal than others. Particularly when it comes to breaking news, I think more people are now turning to Sky News rather than the BBC during times of war, events and crisis." I then noticed that she was completely right, if I wanted to find out details of breaking news, the first place I would go to is Sky News as I believe the coverage is intense and packed with detail. "At the BBC, if you have an idea you go through several meetings before you even reach stage one. At Sky News, somebody could give an idea in the morning and it would literally be on air by the evening. I think the BBC ponders too much."
As the discussion went on, I became aware how there is so much more to every story than just the 'news' of it. Something which was backed by Adrian as he mentioned, "Throughout all the Olympics that I've covered, I've probably only spoken to a few athletes. I began to realise that the Olympics is a financial story. It's about the construction, the social aspect and politics. It's actually about politics more than anything. And then it's about the sport right at the end."
With the 2014 Winter Olympics being held in Sochi having passed, it was evident that one of the main issues was the anti-gay laws set out and the politics behind it.. There is always so much more to each story than just the actual content, there are so many angles in every story. This is why I love journalism.
Minorities and evolving journalism
On the subject of minorities, Kurt wanted to know Gillian's views on why there aren't more people like her on our TV screens. "They think it is an environment they can't succeed in. There is obviously the big R word: racism. But it shouldn't stop people from doing what they want."
As technology is constantly changing, so is the role of the ordinary 'journalist' which was pointed out by Gillian, "Journalists are finding that they have to give more and more of themselves. You need to film, edit, report all at the same time. It is one big melting pot now with a variety of skills."
"But Kurt, do you know what worries me? It's that if you're feeding the beast all the time, you might miss the story. If you're too busy setting up the camera, trying to find an angle, you could miss out on what's going on around you. There is always a story for next time. I don't want to see investigative journalism stop just because there isn't enough money" argued Adrian, to which Gillian quickly agreed saying "it's like losing the art of the scoop".
Adrian then questioned Gillian about whether or not she believed daily slots (such as the 6pm or 10pm news) would last. Interestingly enough, she stated, "No, it will eventually go as the majority of viewers won't access news like that". As an aspiring journalist myself, I find myself turning to social media first when I want to know what's happening globally and that is because it involves a constant and new stream of updates. Twitter is at the forefront of citizen journalism nowadays and Gillian remarked how that was shown when Sky News asked people to send in their videos of the floods surrounding them. "Nowadays, you find that you're accessing news when and how you want. Twitter is essential to minorities as it allows them to share their stories."
Journalism as we know it is regularly changing. A journalist is no longer somebody that just reports, write articles or searches for a journalist. We are all so much more than that, we contribute to the everyday process of finding, sharing, confirming news whether it is minor or major. It is vital to be able to multi-task, to carry out whatever task is needed to complete your story instead of the traditional journalist who would normally just write. After all, without each of us contributing to various roles, there would be no news.