At the weekend, I made the long journey up to Manchester to attend the Women in Media Conference, a two day event of talks, panels and workshops delivered by women in the fields of journalism, film, television and radio.
The conference was held at the People’s History Museum in the Spinningfields area of the city. The building, a converted Edwardian pumping station houses displays and exhibitions on local and national working-class life, the fight for women and LGBT equality.
The event was organised by a group of students at the University of Manchester, and working along with Amnesty International, the theme of the conference was “ideas worth fighting for”, a value inherent in the event, its speakers and the venue.
The importance of journalism as a tool in the fight for human rights was emphasised in the welcome speech delivered by Kerry from Amnesty International where she read an excerpt of an article by lawyer Peter Benenson, published in The Observer in 1961. His article was in response to the imprisonment of two Portuguese students for drinking a toast to liberty during the Salazar dictatorship. His article was a call for readers to bombard the embassies of countries where there had been injustice.
“Open your newspaper- any day of the week- and you will find a report from somewhere in the world of someone being imprisoned, tortured or executed because his opinions or religion are unacceptable to his government.
The newspaper reader feels a sickening sense of impotence. Yet if these feelings of disgust all over the world could be united into common action, something effective could be done”
With the impact of this quote still resonating, it was time to start the sessions. There were multiple sessions at a time so prior to attending, you picked which ones you wished to participate in. I tried to pick the sessions that worked well with radio and sport. As there was so much to take in, I’ve split each session into it’s own post so that it doesn’t make this the longest entry ever and also you can then pick which ones you’d like to read about too, although I do recommend looking at them all as they all had merit.
Shelley Alexander Keynote Speech: Exploring the issues of the representation of women in sport.
“Gathering the News” Panel: Two of Global’s news reporters on how they put bulletins together and consider the audiences.
“Just Made it in the Media” Panel: 4 women sharing their experiences of their first year of employment since graduating.
Business Journalism Keynote Speech: BBC Breakfast’s Steph McGovern on prejudices towards her accent and being female but talking business and economics.
Developing Ideas Workshop: Audio producer Chelsea Dickenson shares her advice on how to create good ideas for pitches.
Sports Journalism Panel: Karthi Gnanasegaram and Victoria Cotton speak on their roles at BBC Sport and how they got there.
Women in Media: What’s Next? Panel: Women from the BBC and Metro newspaper on what they hope for the future of the industry.
Ten Techniques to Succeed in Media Workshop: BAFTA award winning producer Cat Lewis gives her best advice on getting far.
Sadly I wasn’t able to attend the last two sessions of the day as I need to make my way back down to Kent, which took a wonderful 8 hours of getting lost, crammed coaches, delayed tubes, replacement trains and eventually a car journey home. However, the majority of the conference I was able to enjoy and I found the event so rewarding in being able to hear the successes of so many women and get industry specific advice.
I definitely recommend attending any future events and hope to do so as well, but for now I hope those that do read the posts will gain from the advice shared.