BIRMINGHAM IS FULL OF TALENT; MUSIC, FILMMAKING, JOURNALISTIC…
This issue we are proud to bring you an exclusive interview with award-winning journalist and broadcaster, Brummie, media mentor and media educator Marverine Cole. Many of you will have seen her presenting the news on BBC Midlands Today, Sky News, ITV News or heard her on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio WM… the list goes on.
So many great accomplishments, what has been your biggest challenge so far?
Probably one of my biggest challenges professionally was when I chose to leave a permanent staff job at BBC Midlands Today to take a leap of faith and join Sky News. Sky News had asked me to join them three nights a week to present the World News and Business Report Show, a five hour live rolling news programme. What I’d done before were two minute news bulletins on BBC Midlands Today.
What has been your most proud moment in your career?
My proudest achievements of my career were at Sky News where I dealt with big stories like the nomination of president Obama and then his inauguration, the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy that led to the international financial crash in 2008, and the MP expenses scandal in 2009. One of my funniest or most memorable moments was probably interviewing Will Smith, I managed to persuade him to give me a kiss on the cheeks.
Tell us about some of the things you’ve been doing to help Brummies realise their TV and radio ambitions.
Over the last ten years I’ve been mentoring young aspiring journalists that want to be TV or radio presenters. I also shortlist applications for the Journalism Diversity Fund bursary that’s run by the National Council for the Training of Journalists – the NCTJ. And I’ve just been appointed as course director of a brand new multimedia journalism degree course at Birmingham City University.
Tell us about what motivates you.
I’ve always been interested in helping people who aspire to become a journalist, broadcaster, TV or radio presenter. I also like to help people tell their story in a way that might help others or might change policy or really inform and educate and entertain people.
Were there any Birmingham resources that helped you realise your aspirations?
Yes. Resources is not quite the word but the fact that there was a booming TV and radio production sector when I was a teen here in Birmingham definitely fuelled my aspirations. I did work experience at Pebble Mill when I was 16 and got to see the studios and make tea for Ed Doolan. I also did work experience at Central TV and BRMB.
How did you choose the topic Black Girls Don’t Cry for your recent BBC Radio 4 documentary?
As a journalist I was looking for a story that hadn’t been told. I made sure it was the sort of documentary BBC radio 4 would air and found out whether or not they had looked at this topic before. Then I pitched it. Also I was personally affected – in 2000 I experienced a period of depression after a bad break up, being made redundant and struggling to keep my social housing flat.
What kind of reaction did you receive from Black Girls Don’t Cry?
Huge. Overwhelming. I’ve never had a reaction like it. Messages from all over the country – practically all the national newspapers listed it as the radio documentary to listen to that coming week. I’ve also had good feedback from the commissioners. I feel really proud that I’ve created hopefully the a start of debate. Lots of women thanked me because it resonated with them.
Tell me about the course you’re running at BCU and Birmingham’s rising talent.
Birmingham is full of talent; music, filmmaking, journalistic. I’m so excited about my course. It’s a BA honours in journalism and as course director I shape it and look for opportunities for students to get work placements and work experience. But I also teach on it and ensure all the teaching is up to date. All the lecturers on the course are practitioners which means we currently work in the field. Our students learn what news is, the ethics and law around journalism, news gathering and how to produce news from multiple platforms, how to write for the online space, TV and radio production, how to be a mobile studio filming and editing on their iPhones and iPads. So they learn a lot. It’s a great course.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
I moved to Kings Heath almost three years ago. My husband and I saw how exciting and vibrant the area is – full of creative people, full of the whole mix of people; black, white, yellow, brown, different classes, different religions, everyone gets along. It’s lively, its fun. Kings Heath rocks.
To find out more about Marverine visit marverinecole.co.uk
To find out more about Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses at Birmingham City University’s School of Media visit bcu.ac.uk/media