ITV Anglia Diversity Project: An Interview with BritBangla

Working between the main newsroom in Norwich and the Cambridge office

How did you get the internship?
An ITV Anglia journalist was in Cambridge last January to report on the progress of building the city’s first mosque. My mother Shahida Rahman, a Trustee of the Cambridge Mosque Trust, was interviewed by journalist Claire McGlasson. After they exchanged contact details, I decided to email Claire to find out if there were any working opportunities at ITV Anglia. I received a rapid response the following morning (much to my surprise!) from Mike Talbot (Head of News, ITV Anglia), who explained they were looking for someone to help out with a short-term project for a few weeks. I confirmed my interest immediately and began the first day of the placement in mid-February at their main newsroom in Norwich.

Was the internship competitive?
Finding opportunities to work in media has generally been a challenging experience because there is so much competition within this industry. However, when I was contacted by ITV Anglia and offered this placement, I was really excited and keen to make the most of this opportunity.

What exactly did you do over your internship period?
Working as a Production Journalist between the main newsroom in Norwich and the Cambridge office, my primary focus was on driving ITV Anglia’s diversity initiative. I searched for people from all backgrounds and communities across the region to contribute to our news stories and programmes. I promoted the diversity project via social media, receiving strong interest from across the East of England and beyond.

Working between the main newsroom in Norwich and the Cambridge office

One contributor came forward to pitch a story about the shortage of curry chefs in the UK, so I assisted the news team with researching the subject and arranging an interview. The feature was televised on ITV News Anglia in February 2018 and was later published on their website and social media platforms.

ITV News Anglia presenter Becky Jago interviews Safwaan Choudhury, Managing Director of Royston Tandoori
ITV News Anglia presenter Becky Jago interviews Safwaan Choudhury, Managing Director of Royston Tandoori

As my work on the diversity project continued to generate further interest online, I was invited to attend a dinner event in London organised by charity Muslim Aid, who were launching their fundraising campaign on female empowerment. Journalist and broadcaster Mehdi Hasan was the event’s keynote speaker, and I had the chance to speak to him and many other guests about the work I had been doing at ITV Anglia, whilst acquiring new contacts in the process.

With journalist, author and broadcaster Mehdi Hasan

I also paid a visit to Peterborough, meeting active community members to discuss the work I had been doing with them and establish new contacts. It was a great opportunity to hear their views on local issues and for them to potentially contribute to future programmes.

A visit to Peterborough: discussing the ITV Anglia diversity project with active community members

I returned to Norwich on the final day of the placement to present my work and findings on the diversity project to the ITV Anglia news team. I carried out a live demonstration on how to access and utilise the contact list I had produced, explaining how I compiled the data to form a database that was easy for users to navigate and display the relevant information they are looking for as swiftly as possible. After delivering my presentation, I joined Mike Talbot and my mother Shahida Rahman in a question-and-answer session as we discussed how best to reflect the region’s diverse communities on screen.

Discussing all things diversity at the ITV Anglia monthly team meeting

Why did you apply?
After a fantastic and memorable experience working for ITV News at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships, I was really keen to pursue further opportunities with them. I was delighted and honoured to be offered the opportunity to work at ITV Anglia, as I gained valuable experience in the newsroom and enjoyed the responsibility of driving their diversity initiative for the East of England. It was so inspiring to meet and work alongside many journalists, everyone was friendly and welcoming from the first day. Whenever I was looking for advice or had any questions, the team were really supportive and were more than happy to spend time with me and discuss various topics – it was hugely appreciated.

Do you still want to pursue journalism or are you happy to create your own blogger / media career?
After completing the placement, my experience at ITV Anglia confirmed that journalism or broadcasting is exactly what I want to pursue for my career. My dream is to become a sports broadcaster and while I realise I have much to learn in this arena, I believe through sheer persistence, patience and perseverance, I am confident I can make this dream become a reality.

What’s next? Continue with your current media / blogging role?
I will persist with pursuing further opportunities or work placements in the media. In the meantime, I will continue to produce local features for Cambridge Rise, my digital media news site, and work on other local projects to enable my filming, video/audio editing and writing skills to progress further.