IMIX and a group of grassroots storytellers watch the lunchtime news go out at ITN.
A few weeks ago, in another lifetime it now feels, before the lockdown, IMIX took a group of experts by experience and staff from the sector to meet News Editor, Jonathan Wald at the ITN studios. We got a fantastic tour, met the home and foreign news editors, reporters, editors and most exciting of all, sat in the command centre of ITN and watched the lunchtime news go out live.
And all of this was happening on the very first day that Covid-19 really dominated our screens. There was literally nothing else on the news that day.
The idea to do this visit came about various coffees in Dunkirk and then London with Jonathan Wald and informal chats to see how we could forge a better, more productive and story-driven relationship between the biggest broadcaster in the country and our sector.
Both IMIX and ITN want to change the conversation on immigration, to shine a light on the truth of vulnerable people’s lives and just as importantly, to humanise the issue with stories about real people’s lives. Whether it’s about detention, asylum, Calais crossings, Windrush, refugees, EU citizenship or issues like access to health which dovetail right now with this monumental public health crisis.
Jonathan Wald is (very handily) heading up the Covid-19 ITN News team. We have been lucky enough to use this amazing contact and recently secured a big piece on the work of Refuaid on refugee doctors.
This demonstrates just how vital it is for all of us to develop strong relationships with senior news editors and programme makers. To keep talking to them, to be bold, have creative ideas, tell stories, to choose the journalists we work with carefully. And the stories which will touch hearts and change minds.
In the long run we are certain that this will help us to change the perception around the issues of immigration.
Only by engaging with senior news editors, can we do this.
Below is a personal blog by Alunica Lepadatu from The Roma Support Group, about her day at the studio and here are five top facts about ITN which we hope you find useful.
Meanwhile, if you have a story you want to share with ITN (or indeed Sky or the BBC) please do get in touch with the IMIX team.
Opening the door for stories to be seen from another angle
It was a very unexpected surprise when my colleague invited me to attend a tour of the ITN studios. It’s not often that I hear of this kind of opportunity for minority representatives, especially from big influencers such as ITN. It was one of those mornings full of hope and expectation. I met the ten other participants in the group, all of whom were members of religious and ethnic minorities, refugees, and people who are dedicated to working for vulnerable groups. Upon meeting, they were already my friends, and I hoped that this tour visit would not only show them the beautiful, architectural composition of the new building but would also open up doors and opportunities for them, raising their voices, showing their concerns and safeguarding their rights!
I am Roma, the biggest ethnic minority in Europe. In the UK I work for the Roma Support Group (RSG) as Project Advocate for two EUSS related projects. I help other Roma people like me regain their right to leave and work in the UK after Brexit. For me, the visit to the ITN newsroom was a breath of fresh air; something new and exciting which will help me spread the word about the work we do here at RSG for the Roma migrants in the UK.
I have a journalistic background. I used to work for a Roma monthly TV show Petalo Romano on Moldova’s biggest national TV channel. So as a journalist I was very curious to find out how it all works in London, the centre of news production in the UK. And I saw it: The dream team, the monochrome but beautiful green studio, the high performing equipment…
‘So that’s how it looks behind the scenes’ I thought. You certainly feel empowered when you are there surrounded by professionals. It changes your perspective. I hope the perspectives of my colleagues from other vulnerable groups will also change for the better! Not just by being inspired, like me, from visiting the ITN newsroom, but also from their stories being spotted and spoken about more.
For me, it was an inspirational tour, showing that there is no limit to professionalism and endeavour.
It might open the door to social difference and justice issues being highlighted more in the media. I highly recommend the IMIX initiative of media visits for vulnerable groups. It enables members of minority groups to see the morning news from inside, and will hopefully get their stories seen from another angle.