Shine Media is the sort of organisation I hoped for when I was younger. The sort of organisation that instils confidence in people of all ages and abilities who have a raw passion for media. The type that offers the enthusiastic “go-getter” a foot through the media door… I didn’t see many of such organisations around when I was growing up. I didn’t come across many people like Joanna Abeyie – Founder & Director Shine Media LTD, Senior Showbiz & News journalist at Beamly.com, and award-winning journalist.
What makes Joanna stand out from all the other professionals in the industry that offered a helping hand (yet just as quickly took it away just as I prepare for a big leap), is her genuine interest to help make a change – no frills attached, even at such a young age. Growing up, I would take on any opportunity to network with BAME media professionals I’d come across and ask for an opportunity to “shadow” them for first hand experience. My enthusiasm was usually met with a positive response to “help”, however when it came to chasing it up, the reality was, hardly any kept to their word. So I grew up thinking as much as BAME media professionals say they want to help young people, they also want to hold onto “their jobs”! I grew up thinking there was a sense of completion and/or conflict between them and myself – a mere amature seeking knowledge from these media “gods” I look up to. The amount of rejection I faced made me stop asking for the hands on experience I longed for and rather seek advice instead – that was often less challenging.
So when I sat in the ITV seminar room on wet and cold morning earlier this week listening to the warm testimonials of what young people had to say about their experience with Shine Media, I felt a sense of relief. But I also couldn’t help wonder if the state of the British media our BAME ‘”gods” have worked so hard to imprint ‘diversity’ on, is now in turmoil they are desperately seeking young BAME to carry on the baton… What ever the case, it was refreshing to hear that people like myself are needed – even if it’s been a 10 year wait to personally hear such news.
The professional panelists were influential; Miranda Wayland – ITV Diversity & InclusionManager, Kannan Ganga – ex Human Resource Director at News UK and Dotun Adebayo – BBC Broadcaster (BBC Radio 5live and BBC London 94.9) – so passionate he even missed part of a special occasion to spend the afternoon inspiring an audience with his brash honesty about the scope for change within the BBC.
The seminar ended with a strong emphasis on the need for diversity within all sectors of the media and how young BAME people can play an important role that change – with the help and partnership of Shine Media and friends.
As I exited the ITV building into the rain, Kannan Ganga‘s personal words of advice to me rang in my ears. I took on his challenge by noting a mental swot analysis to turn my weaknesses into strengths, and my threats into opportunities. It wasn’t long before I found the positive even in the weather… Showers of blessings on a very productive day.
Shine Media is an award-winning Social Enterprise providing media training, recruitment support, and careers events with an emphasis on diversity – ethnicity, class, gender, and disability. Find out more about Shine Media and S.A.M – Shine Academy of Media journalism trainee schemewww.ShineMedia.org.uk