- First of all can you just give us a little rundown of who you are – background, degree, career?
My name is Amani Ibrahimi and I am 25-years-old. I’m from Middlesbrough and come from an Arab/Iraqi family. I studied Multimedia Journalism at university in my home town which led me into my career as a journalist. Since then, I’ve managed to get into the broadcast industry and now live and work in London as a producer and presenter for ITV News’ The Rundown.
- What is your current job role and what does it entail? (What is The Rundown for those who don’t know)?
The Rundown is a social media show designed to update you on the top headlines in a very fast paced style. It’s been created for a younger audience and for those who don’t usually engage with news. My job role includes producing, presenting and editing. I help pitch and script the stories as well as present them. I also edit the videos and then publish them online.
- How was your experience as a Trainee Production Journalist for ITV? What did you learn and was it imperative for the role you have now?
It was my first role working for ITV and I learned so much. It taught me a lot about the different roles within TV. I learned how to produce bulletins and how to work to a deadline to ensure all the stories were ready before going live. I believe that the traineeship helped me become more confident in producing which is something I hadn’t done up until that point.
- Did you always want to be a journalist?
No, not always. I only realised it when I was doing my A Levels. At the time, I was studying Sociology and as one of our modules, we studied the media. During my time at college, the Syrian civil war had also started which drew me into keeping up with the news more because I had family in Syria. I would watch the news more often and I wanted to become someone who could speak for people like my family in Syria who didn’t have a voice and highlight their stories.
- What do you think are some of the essential skills to be a journalist/broadcast journalist?
There are a few essential skills to be a journalist which you can master over time. Some of those are research, writing, editing and presentation skills. Those all come with practice and the more work experience/jobs you do, the more you will learn to become better at them all.
- What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy learning new things and listening to people’s stories. It’s exciting working in a job where you have no idea what will happen and how you will react to breaking news. Every day is different and being a part of a role where you can talk about stories from any corner of the world is amazing. I like the idea of being able to learn and then pass that knowledge and information onto viewers.
- Highlights of your career?
Being able to work with ITV News to help create The Rundown is the best highlight of my career so far. I had never worked on a project from the beginning before and being able to create a unique news show for younger people on social media for the first time in the company’s history was great to be a part of.
- What is the most challenging part?
I would say every job has its challenges, especially when you’re young and new into the industry. Having to learn so many different skills can be tough but I’ve found throwing myself into the deep end has really helped me build my confidence.
- Do you ever get nervous when presenting news shows? If you do, how do you overcome this?
I do at times. I definitely used to get more nervous in the beginning but as I started to do it more often I became more comfortable. One thing that helped me was to practice a lot, I would take scripts home and just pretend to present in my room. I started to become comfortable in hearing my own voice and finding my own style. Building confidence within yourself definitely helps because I think the reason why we get so nervous is because we’re worried about being judged. Believe in yourself and practice a lot!
- As a northern girl, did you experience any prejudice towards your accent as a broadcast journalist? Did you ever try to change your accent or think you might need to?
Not at all. That was something I was worried about when I was getting into the industry but so far in my career, I’ve never felt like it has affected me negatively. When I was in university, I definitely did think that I would have to change my accent if I wanted to get into TV because a lot of journalists in the past did. However, I am so glad that I’ve proved to myself and to others that that’s not the case. It’s important to embrace your accent and where you’re from because there are many viewers who will sound like you and will appreciate that. I’m very proud of my accent and I am so glad that I never changed it.
- How do you keep up with current affairs?
When you work on a daily news show you have to make sure you’re up to date with current affairs all the time. I’m very active on social media so that I can see what stories are trending and what people are talking about and sharing. I have a daily routine where I listen to news on a morning and also have news apps on my phone so I’m constantly notified of any breaking news. I also read articles often as it helps me think of story ideas for work.
- Do you think it is important to be on social media and in particular on Twitter as a journalist?
Yes, I do. I think even if you don’t like to use social media, being on there is important. The news world is changing a lot and social media plays a huge role in it. Many people get their news sources online, especially young people. It’s important to be where the audience are in order to understand what they are talking about and which stories matter to them. Twitter is such a useful platform for news because it allows you to see what is trending – giving you an idea of what people are reading about.
- What are your top tips for those who are wanting to break into the journalism industry?
My biggest advice is to get as much work experience in broadcast journalism. Focusing on building a portfolio is very important because you want employers to be impressed and to see what you’re capable of doing. It doesn’t have to be big corporations and even a day or a week’s worth of work experience could look good on your CV. Not only will work experience help you when you go for a job interview but it’ll also help you build contacts and find what it is you truly enjoy.
Also subscribe to her YouTube channel where she shares more valuable journalism advice: Click here