A date with London’s equality sector

Posted 19 October 2018

Metro journalist Jess Austin shares her experience of Speedmatching and why she thinks every journalist should give it a try.

The last time I gave a presentation was during my final year of university, and I spoke so quickly that I lost marks. Despite this, I was really excited and flattered to be invited to speak at Media Trust’s Stronger Voices Speedmatching event about online media and Metro.co.uk’s communities team. 

The event 

The event had some great presentations, including talks by the Telegraph’s Ian MacGregor, BBC Radio 1’s Debbie Ramsay and Evening Standard’s Doug Wills. These were followed by a speed dating style activity where journalists and charities were allowed to speak one on one for five minutes and given the opportunity to pitch ideas and receive feedback. 

I had never been to speed dating before, but had some preconceived notions of what it would be like and I prepared myself for awkward silences and worked on my small talk. It turns out I didn’t need it as all the charities, journalists and individuals from Media Trust involved were extremely welcoming and chatty. Despite the event going on for an afternoon, time really flew. 

My experience

As Metro.co.uk has recently relaunched our opinion section and changed how we work, it was a great opportunity to be able to present to the charities and share what we are looking for and explain how we work as a team. 

The speedmatching portion of the event was brilliant at helping me connect with charities, many of which I hadn’t heard of before and was delighted to find out more about.

I feel that the whole experience was entirely positive and would completely recommend it to other journalists

Before the event, I had read up on the non-profits that were going to be attending and was excited to meet them. They didn’t disappoint – each organisation talked with such passion and pitched wonderful ideas. 

Even if the ideas weren’t immediately right for us, being able to talk face to face meant that we were able to work out a solution, and a piece that would work. 

For this reason, I feel that the whole experience was entirely positive and would completely recommend it to other journalists. We don’t often have time to meet with charities for meetings and so getting introduced to so many amazing organisations at once was brilliant. 

They also had great snacks on offer, which certainly helped. 

I was so glad to hear I matched with all the charities involved (I’ve never felt so popular) and I know we will work with them all in the future. 

Stronger Voices is a training programme created in partnership with the Equality and Diversity Forum and funded by City Bridge Trust, designed to help strengthen the voices of London’s equality sector.

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