Thursday, 5 March 2015

Grazia10 Meet The Newsmakers: An inspiring evening with Mishal Husain, Christina Lamb, Emily Maitlis, Sue Turton and Jayne Secker.

Wednesday evening gave me a taster of what my dream life could one day be like if I only work hard enough.

Having just finished a brilliant work placement at Grazia, I left the office and headed to Getty Images Gallery just off Oxford Street for the magazine's "Meet The Newsmakers" evening - one in a series of amazing events to celebrate Grazia's 10th birthday.

Although I haven't been reading Grazia for the past ten years, I love it - to be fair I was 12 in 2005 and very much still into the likes of Shout and Mizz. Maybe even Girl Talk if I'm honest. But hey, I was a late bloomer.

Grazia has a brilliant way of striking what I think is the perfect balance between 'lighter' subjects like fashion and celeb news, while bringing important world affairs and politics to light too. Grazia's lovely editor Jane Bruton summed it up wonderfully in a recent article when she said:

"If men can be just as passionate about football as 'big issues', where's the contradiction in caring about skirt lengths and world events?"

And the packed-out, captive audience at Meet The Newsmakers proved just how many of us are interested in the news industry.

Ever the keen bean, I arrived early and thus got the chance to peruse Grazia's exhibition (which is free and open to the public in the daytime.) It gives a fascinating look back at the past ten years and how Grazia has moved with the times, as well as looking ahead to the future.

All Grazia's pics
I'd been excited about Meet The Newsmakers for a long time: chaired by Mishal Husain (presenter of Radio 4's Today programme and BBC News ) with a panel of Christina Lamb (Foreign Affairs Correspondent for the Sunday Times), Emily Maitlis (BBC News and Newsnight presenter), Jayne Secker (Sky News presenter) and Sue Turton (Al Jazeera correspondent). Such incredible women with amazing experience.

Getting the chance to chat to Mishal, Emily and Christina before the panel started was such an incredible experience for me, and they're all so very kind and friendly too. Hobnobbing with my idols over drinks and canapés... I almost had to pinch myself.

Speaking of the canapés - how snazzy are these?

There were also slightly less snazzy cocktail sausages, and between you and me, they were my faves. But you won't tell, will you?

I also met lots of other lovely people attending the event including Anna Johnson, a young TV presenter who is probably going to be the next Holly Willoughby. You heard it here first.

But it was soon panel time, so we all took our seats and "the biggest female names in news today" made their way to the stage. I was poised to absorb their wisdom.

Over the hour a huge range of interesting topics were discussed. The panel shared insider views, interesting anecdotes and funny stories from when they started out - did you know Emily Maitlis wanted to be a hairdresser as a teenager? Well she did.

It was really interesting to hear about how technology has changed the job of a journalist, both the positives and negatives. "It's become more dangerous. We've become targets," said Christina. And Sue added, "You become part of the frontline, you don't just report it."

The floor was opened to questions from the audience at the end and I was so pleased to get the opportunity to ask the panel's views on the male domination of the news industry. The general consensus was that newspapers are still behind broadcast in this sense - Christina has never had a female editor. "I think women need to be more ballsy," added Jayne.

I simply sat in awe of these funny, smart, inspirational women, trying to soak up some of their talent and work ethic.

One of the most inspiring parts for me was hearing why they do what they do. Here are some of my favourite things that were said.

"I think it's the greatest profession in the world. It teaches you that you can tackle anybody." - Sue.

"It's a real privilege." "You have to be quite nosy, pushy and serious. And bloody determined." - Jayne.

"You can ask anybody anything." "You hope that by telling people's stories you'll change things." - Chris.

"It's adrenalin. You don't know what's going to happen. It's an amazing sense of feeling alive." - Emily.

"Journalism focuses the mind." "I hope I never get over the thrill of this." - Mishal.

I didn't think I could possibly want to be a journalist more, but oops, that happened. How anyone could leave the event NOT wanting to be a journalist is beyond me! What a brilliant, interesting, inspiring evening. It was a real privilege to be there.

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