Sometimes when you least expect it, you’ll run into something great. That’s what happened to me at the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) meeting I attended with some of my Global Ad & PR classmates today.
When I first entered the BIS doors, I had no idea I would leave the building feeling so refreshed and inspired. I learned more than I ever would’ve expected about the U.K. government and some of the great changes it’s undergoing due to economic hardships. In particular, I was informed about the integration of departments and the new ideas being developed because of the current economic climate in the U.K.
At the meeting, I met Tim Lloyd, head of Digital Communications at BIS, who offered great insight, and to my advantage, previously worked for the Department of Health. He worked with National Health Services (NHS), in addition to the Change4Life campaign that I originally set out to research in the U.K.
More to explore
Although I couldn’t ask him everything I wanted to in our short meeting, he mentioned and briefly explained many topics that will help develop my project quite a bit. Some of the topics I want to explore more are his experience with working on programs for healthy school lunches and partnering with supermarkets to work through society to implement healthy eating initiatives.
I plan to talk to Mr. Lloyd about his involvement with specific healthy eating policies, especially those that target children and schools. I also want to learn more about his involvement with Change4Life and NHS, as well as the supermarket partnership he briefly spoke about. After hearing him speak, I could tell he was passionate about improving society and working toward making it a better place for all people. Both Mr. Lloyd and Jacqueline Williamson, who also spoke from the Cabinet Office inspired me because they were so dedicated to their involvement with BIS, the U.K. government and working toward improving society as a whole, even with economic challenges.
Inspirational BIS action
The meeting moved me because the people working for BIS truly care about fixing the problems they are facing, whether it has to do with public health, education, employment and many more issues. They understand that they don’t have the funding to implement loads of separate programs, so they are collaborating and working together to achieve their goals instead of cutting programs that are important to society. The BIS in the U.K. understands that certain initiatives must continue to better society, while the U.S.government is more concerned with funding and will quickly remove programs if there is not enough money for them to exist. It seems the U.K. is up-to-date with the idea of collaboration, and the U.S. government is focusing on the wrong issues, especially when it comes to healthy eating policies.
The truth is, many countries are undergoing economic adversity, including the U.S. and U.K. But it’s important to work together and solve existing problems to work toward achieving a well-functioning, innovative society.
Listening to the other experts
I’ve spent my adult life in newsrooms. I know them pretty well. At least I thought I did. They’ve changed since I took my first anxious breaths in one more two decades ago. The changes have come fast and furious, and I have experienced them as a part of a team trying to find how we would continue to be a profitable and relevant news organization.
In the face of these changes, the importance of racial and ethnic diversity seemingly became unimportant; my own value as a minority was subjugated by me, by my bosses, by the new environment. That wasn’t always the case. In fact, I think my minority status was one of the things that moved my resume to the “second look” pile during the push for more diversity in media. The need to understand the new environment’s impact on minorities in the “new” newsrooms and eventually its potential impact on audiences drove me to find minority journalists working in today’s newsrooms and listen to their voices.
One of those voices was Mike Cardew, a photographer and photo editor. See some of his interview below.
The voices of newsroom experts, so far, have been powerful and telling. With three interviews under my belt, I’ve heard some personal stories of change. These experts — ranging from 2 years to 25 years of work experience, were all aware of a new environment for newsroom diversity and the effect it is having on minorities. In exploring these stories I found two big themes resonating within them: diversity is needed in top management (a seat at the table) and age diversity is a top concern in the digital age.
More research and interviews are slated. Come back and hear more the changing landscape for minorities and the changing culture of the traditional newsroom.