Has the Grenfell tragedy inspired a new generation to get into politics?

Posted 23 July 2018

Breaking into News gives 10 aspiring journalists the chance to create their own news report with the support of their very own ITV regional news team. Our London finalist, sixth-form student Hadeel Elshak shares the heartbreaking inspiration behind her news report, which explores youth engagement in politics post-Grenfell.

As the end of A levels were fast approaching, I was eager to look for opportunities during the summer.  Scrolling through my sixth form’s twitter feed, I came across an opportunity to create my own news report on a topic of my choice with ITV News. Journalism seemed like a far-fetched aspiration, as it’s fiercely competitive to enter the industry especially for someone with very little to no experience, such as myself.

I wanted to document the views of young people living in North Kensington, where the fire took place.

I chose to report on the effect the Grenfell fire had on young people’s engagement with politics. I wanted to document the views of young people living in North Kensington, where the fire took place, and whether Grenfell had caused a drive in young people to get more involved in the political sphere.

Diversity in politics

I feel like this is such an important piece to focus on as the community in the area is incredibly diverse and I believe representation of minorities is crucial for a serving government. Grenfell reminds us of why we need more people from diverse backgrounds entering politics.

Hades being filmed by at ITV camera man at Harrow Club, a community youth hub in North Kensington

Hadeel filming her report at Harrow Club, a community youth hub in North Kensington.

This is also mirrored in the way Grenfell was reported in the media. The community has been left with a feeling of mistrust towards the media, dissatisfied with coverage of the tragedy. I believe that this is due to a lack of diversity and representation within journalism and the wider media industry. I’ve recently learnt that only 0.4% of journalists are Muslim and 0.2% are Black. Whilst these findings were shocking, it made sense as many journalists are often too distant from the story they’re reporting on, unable to relate. And this can have consequences. A lack of understanding by journalists can have a lasting impact on the people and communities that they are reporting on. Their coverage can lead to wider society forming inaccurate viewpoints or opinions.

Firdaws was extremely articulate and intelligent, everyone expected her to be the next Prime Minister

Remembering Firdaws

Some inspiration for my choice of news report stemmed from Firdaws Hashim who sadly passed away in the Grenfell tower fire with her family Yahya, Yaqbub, Noura and Hashim on the 21st floor. Firdaws and her older brother Yahya attended Solidarity Sports, a charity I work with which aims to introduce a healthy lifestyle to children from disadvantaged backgrounds. They were part of our charity for four years.

Firdaws was extremely articulate and intelligent, everyone expected her to be the next Prime Minister. After she passed away, it saddened me to think of everything she could’ve achieved. For Firdaws to become Prime Minister, it would’ve been a great achievement not just for her, but for everyone she represents. She would’ve differed from the stereotypical norm of political figures.

This is why although I was ecstatic to be the London finalist I feel as though I have a duty to use this platform that Media Trust have given me, to report on a story that is bigger than all of us and show the potential that children like Firdaws have for the future of politics.

Watch Hadeel’s final report created with support from her mentor ITV News Journalist Katie Oakes and the ITV London team.

Hadeel will join nine other finalists, each representing a different ITV News region, at the Breaking into News final on the 25 June where the 2018 winner be announced.

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