Thursday, 6 November 2014

Chronicles of a journalist wannabe #2 In conversation with Alex Crawford

Aaaah London, what a glamorous town London is! A town where everything’s possible, where dreams come true!

Back to reality.

So I went to the One World Media “kick-start your foreign correspondent career” event yesterday, and it was great. I mean it.
First there was a conversation between the former director of the BBC World Service, Phil Harding, and Alex Crawford, Sky News’ special correspondent who is based in South Africa and flew overnight for the event. Alex was the first reporter to broadcast live from Tripoli’s Green Square as the rebels took over. She’s reported from all over the world, including some very dangerous war zones and has been arrested, abducted, interrogated and shot at.

Explaining how one eventually gets to cover war zones Alex said “war zones are like the world cup, you don’t start playing football one day and play the world cup the next, you have to go through the second, first division, everything before you eventually get there. Being a foreign correspondent is the same, you have to get experience first, but it doesn’t mean it necessarily takes a long time.”

When asked about her motivations Alex said she wanted her reporting to have an impact, be a part of a historic event. She also explained she wanted to witness and relay the empathy and feelings she goes through when she reports. “If you don’t feel you’re obviously not a very good journalist!” she chuckled.

On how she ended up where she is now in her career, Alex says “A large part of my career has been being rejected.” She explained how she started her school’s newspaper “which had a huge amount of staff members, one, me! But I got my friends to write contributions!” She then went on to a trainee course.
After being rejected for a lot of journalism jobs, Alex started writing personally to editors and one of them eventually took her in.

Alex Crawford is now a highly respected journalist; she has won Royal Television Society Journalist of the Year award, no less than four times, a record. She’s written a book and has been nominated for other awards. She is a very inspirational character.

After a short break the event resumed with panels of freelance correspondents and commissioners. These two talks were full in insight and advice on how to get going and get commissions. I certainly got out feeling motivated and enlightened even if the general consensus was “do not go to a dangerous zone,” I think each participant said that at least once, including Alex Crawford. But instead of feeling demoralised because that is essentially my goal, it made me want to work harder.

I stayed overnight in London giving me the opportunity to deliver my CV in person at a few places where I would love to work.
After being stuck at the overground station because of a false fire alarm (it was so exciting, three fire trucks came and all the firemen were in full gear but it turns out they didn’t need it) I took a series of trains and ran across London with a stop at the Shard to deliver to The Times then, after a live country music mini concert in the tube, at the Northcliffe building in Kensington to deliver to The Independent. There I saw Prince William in a convoy. Back on the tube to go to Hanover Square at the Vogue House to get to Vanity Fair. And finally The Guardian at King’s Cross. A whole adventure. I then proceeded to take myself out to a cheap lunch which wasn’t all that great.


Thanks for reading! Tune in next week to know about the “Rencontres européennes Médiane” a conference about diversity in the media.

2 comments:

  1. “Rencontres européennes Médiane”.....?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "a conference about diversity in the media."

      I have yet to write about that though...

      Delete