Earlier this year we launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a network of media confident spokespeople with real experience of pressing social issues facing UK society today.
The aim of the programme is to improve representation and the diversity of voices in the media (and beyond) and to give our network of speakers a platform. We’re over half way through the pilot and are really proud of how the programme is going, the group has really connected and are supporting each other. The ‘and beyond’ bit of the programme has been transformational. They’ve been invited to speak at events and conferences including an event to mark Nancy Astors 100th Anniversary at the House of Commons, and the upcoming TedxLondonWomen in December. There are at least another five events where the network will have a presence. And, really importantly, they are being paid for their expertise.
The crowdfunding and funding has enabled us to offer five full-day workshops as part of the programme. To date the group have already participated in three workshops that have been practical, tailored and skills-based – including building confidence in using social media, blogging and vlogging. We had a great session on campaigning and activism led by Karen at Campaign Bootcamp. We also had a talk from Winnie Li award-winning writer, producer and activist who was able to share her path to becoming a spokesperson.
Media Day at Channel 4 News and the BBC
We’ve had great support from journalists who really value the ambition for the network, and engaging with the media is an important part of the programme. We know that many of the group have either had disappointing experiences working with the media or lack experience so are nervous. At Channel 4 News we were taken around the studio followed by a lively conversation with Emily Wilson, Head of Home News. We were also joined by Symeon Brown who sounddelivery met a training workshop many years ago when he was working for the charity the Howard League. It was brilliant to see him thriving as a news reporter. Take a look at the reports he’s worked on.
At the BBC we met Alison Holt, Social Affairs Correspondent and her producer Lorna Donlon. Anna O’Neil, BBC London took the group on a tour of Broadcasting House including the news room and BBC London Studios. We were later joined by Priya Shah from the Jeremy Vine Programme, Helen Fitzhenry from Woman’s Hour and Giles Edwards who produces Four Thought (as well as many other programmes). He is also a mentor on our programme. Lots of great ideas were shared and the group left feeling much more confident about engaging with the media.
“You are the experts in your area. Believe in yourselves. You know what you’re talking about.” Alison Holt
“My biggest take away was that journalists are so interested in what we have to say, that pitching is worthwhile and how to pitch. I was encouraged by meeting so many and hearing them say such similar things. Seeing the studios and where it’s all made also made it feel much more accessible.” Bryony Albery, Spokesperson Network Member
Last month we were excited to launch our new Being the Story podcast to inspire new ideas, challenge perceptions, and stimulate conversation on the big health and social issues facing society today. Recorded in front of live audience at Conway Hall, the series features thought-proving talks given by individuals who’ve faced life-changing experiences and who are using their experiences to come up with solutions to create social change. It will feature some of the speakers in our network. Listen now to our first four episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.
Next month the network will be put through their paces during a Media Training Day and the programme wraps up in January with a final session. We’re also speaking to funders about developing the programme beyond the pilot.
Support from our crowdfunder donors and funders this programme is completely free to our network. If you’d like to donate, you can do so here and you can follow the progress by following @sounddelivery on twitter or facebook keeping an eye on our hashtag #BeingtheStory or connecting with us on LinkedIn. And do share with your own networks what we’re trying to do. There are still lots of ways to get involved.