In essence I wanted to go to Podium.me for my work experience because I didn’t want to be involved in the monotony of paperwork, filing, photocopying, printing, coffee making, biscuit snapping… the office life. The idea of being free to produce and present my own podcast, on what I wanted to talk about, and be potentially listened to, was like music to my ears. I came prepared with an idea, pen and paper, and an open mind.
Camilla wasted no time in getting us into the nitty gritty, as we dropped our bags, started speaking, she said, “Hold that thought, let’s record this!”. From that we learned the first lesson of the day, but also the main principle of this experience: young people are worth listening to. Therefore, once we got into the sea of journalists at the Charles Wheeler Awards Ceremony, it was highly ironic that we were two 17-year-olds, in what another mature journalist termed, “a bunch of dinosaurs”.
Whilst, many journalists acknowledged the lack of diversity as well, they claimed this was not the face of journalism today. However, I can’t deny that it was off-putting to see one demographic that was tasked with the responsibility of relaying the stories of the people for the people. Camilla asked the keynote speaker, “How can you get young people involved in politics and current affairs, who are so disillusioned by it all, that they watch Love Island?” (i.e. Me, guilty as charged). I sensed the eye rolls amongst the laughs, however, whilst the majority of the journalists looked down on my affliction, when I reflected I realized that on Snapchat all of the major news outlets, like the Metro and the Daily Mirror have either the Kardashians, Emily Ratatowski in a bikini or Love Island. So, are we inherently shallow, and frivolous, or is that what is expected of us?
Walking around the room trying to network, I spoke to a retired journalist, and she said, ‘Oh, journalism created sexism’. She went onto explain how appearance and age were highly important factors in the longevity of a woman’s career in journalism. Coincidentally, sexism was something Alfie and I, spoke about earlier that day, in which he declared he was not a feminist and explained why (what a shameless promo: check out Alfie’s podcast). Therefore, in hindsight, I see that working as a journalist, you never really stop working, everywhere you look there are people, and therefore stories.
The next day reaffirmed this to me, as Camilla and I went to a Ted Talk master class, in which a bunch of random strangers from all walks of life amalgamated because they want to tell their stories. From an old age pensioner, referred to as the banana lady as of course she is bananas for bananas, to a man who seemed to be a character out of The Office as he was as enthusiastic about gas boilers as I am about Love Island. Whilst, again I was the youngest amongst them, unlike the previous event I did not feel out of place, nor do I think anyone did. This demonstrates that diversity, in London at least is natural, and journalists should reflect that.
Therefore, as the week went on these ideas informed how I wanted my podcast to be. I knew from the start that I wanted to do it on Love Island, but because of my embarrassment that I watch the show, I wanted to get to the bottom of why I watch Love Island? As Camilla said, ‘Why does Antonia, an intelligent young person watch something like Love Island?’
Consequently, because Love Island is such a cultural phenomenon, I took to the streets of Islington to see why do people watch it and why people don’t, as I can understand both perspectives being only a new Love Island convert. The idea of approaching strangers on the street was a daunting concept but with the help of Camilla I managed to get a substantial amount of interviews. From a girl vaping to a newsagent, it was the only way to get an insight into public opinion.
Whilst, my week at Podium has ended, Camilla has assured me that I am now a part of the network of Podium journalists and it is something I am already putting into practice. During the week I was also inspired to interview people I know that are mixed race, because I realized that sometimes I forget that I am. In addition, I found an event on eventbrite about tackling serious youth violence, and as I signed in, one of the organizers asked for my background, and I replied, “I’m going to say I’m a journalist”. With that label I’m more inspired than ever to listen and to relay stories because in the words of George the Poet, “Telling your own story is the secret to survival”.