Media training, isn’t that what celebrities, actors and people of the moment need? To protect them from journalists who want their pound of flesh. Low income women from Brixton (who are not climbing out of austerity). Not your usual participants. At best we are ‘Mums on Benefits.’ At worst ‘lazy, benefit scrounging scum.’ We have no spokesperson.
Five sessions to get the lowdown on The Media. We are nervous of being misquoted, negative exposure and being trapped in our own stories. I can see my personal follow up story. Poor woman speaks eloquently is also into nude selfies, practices witchcraft and is found to be a benefits cheat to boot…
Most of the above is untrue.
Media training turned out to be informative, practical and at times out of my comfort zone. Seeing myself in a practice interview I look decidedly odd, twitchy and lopsided. We learned how to formulate our messages. How to deliver in print, radio, TV and on social media. Different journalists came in to discuss their working lives.
Women on the margins do have something to say about the impact of social policy decisions on our daily lives. Low income women are not homogenous, we are complex, real people. We have the right to question those who govern us at the very least.
The media does influence public opinion. I finished the course feeling more confident, and empowered. Rather than hiding, feeling powerless and shamed. Knowledge is power, which can be used to tell our stories to illustrate hidden truths in our lives.
by Sandra Jacobs