CLAUDIA-LIZA ARMAH SHARES HOW TO BREAK INTO BROADCASTING IN A DIGITAL AGE
We have an awesome interview with the delightful and diligent Claudia-Liza Armah. For those who are not familiar with the name, Claudia is a news broadcaster on BBC3’s 60 seconds news bulletin. Her inspiring story gives young people the courage to step up and pursue their dreams using the little resources that some may take for granted. Take notes as she takes us on a journey from humble beginnings to national TV screen. You are bound to find pearls of wisdom along the way. And oh yes, she is Ghanaian! Woop Woop!
CLAUDIA-LIZA ARMAH PERSONAL LIFE AND DEVELOPING HER CRAFT
What's the best way to develop skills for presenting?
The best advice I could give to anyone who wants to develop and improve their presenting skills is to work in front of a camera as much as possible! There is just no replacement for just getting as much on-camera experience as possible. The more you do the better you become - it's just that simple really.
How has your Christianity played a part in shaping your broadcasting career?
My Christian life has played a huge role in my career. When choosing jobs to apply to and when I am offered work I think - 'Would God be happy if I take on this role?' There are jobs I just won't do and I have ruled myself out of as a result.
What advice would you give on combating camera nerves?
Not sure if this will help but believe it or not - I just tell myself "no one is watching me". When I first started presenting I was awful. The idea of thousands of people watching me a complete freaked me out and I would simply look stiff and nervous as a result - I wouldn't even smile. In the end I just had to keep telling myself "no-one is watching me - relax." And you know what, it worked
Has growing up in a Ghanaian household influenced who you are today?
I am sure when I say my mother was so strict she made the television programme "World's Strictest Parents" look like a holiday park - people of Ghanaian heritage will understand. There were strict rules that had to be adhered to and followed. It meant during my schools days I didn't go out - I had to do household chores, look after my younger sisters and most importantly do my school work. It meant my main access to the outside world was the television. I would sit and watch practically every TV programme and film on terrestrial telly and SKY. It made me a completely TV and film nerd - which is quite handy when you work in the media.
How did you deal with not being allowed out?
At the time it was hard not being allowed out with friends but I have to really thank my mother for it - she gave me a passion for education and a passion for the media. It's even helped me understand being a presenter as I would sit for hours on end watching shows like "The Big Breakfast" and unwittingly study each presenters style and what made them so good - and in a way I try to adopt it to my own style today.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO GET THAT DREAM JOB IN MEDIA
What advice would you give to graduates that have studied a media course but can't get a breakthrough in the industry?
Experience, Experience, Experience!
Studying is good, in fact excellent, but do try to match studying with work experience. I took my first degree in History and Journalism and from the very first year I was bashing the phones getting work experience at magazines, this eventually led to work experience at radio stations and that eventually turned to paid freelance work. Here are some tips below:
- NETWORKING EVENTS/SOCIAL MEDIA
My advice to both graduates and students is to attending as many network events as possible - in the age of social media (Twitter/Facebook/Linkedin) it should never be a problem finding out the many media related talks and workshops that are taking place. Make sure you follow the big media companies, BBC, ITV, Channel 4 etc All of which should have a dedicated careers or intern pages. Make sure you also read leading media publications such as Broadcast Now, Digital Spy, Media Guardian (again - all should be on Twitter also).
- WATCHING TV
If there are TV shows that you like and you would like to work on - at the end of the programme details are given of the production company which made the show - go to their website, get their contact details and get in touch asking about how to apply for work experience opportunities. This is great - as you get in there before they advertise the role. Also do make sure you follow these production companies on Twitter - you will be amazed at how often they advertise vacancies or developments on the site.
- SMALLER COMPANIES
Remember - don't just aim for the big companies (BBC, ITV, RADIO 1, KISS FM) - there are loads of small radio and TV channels that are easier to break into. Flick through the channels on SKY and check out all those small stations and approach them for work. The same with radio - get in touch with local or even community radio stations. Working for these companies gives you work experience and gives you something to put on your CV when you start approaching the bigger companies for work experience.
Is networking all it's cracked out to be?
Networking is an absolute must! In many cases moving on up in the media industry is about who you know - one of the best ways of getting to know influential people is by networking. In the best case scenario you could meet that person who is willing to offer you work experience or even a job. But it's not just about getting a job - you could meet someone who could give you the best advice ever that could steer you in the right direction to getting a job. Let them look at your CV. It can make all the difference! Trust Me!
What you can gain from networking is endless so NETWORK PEOPLE!!
How would you say prayer helps us in life?
Personally - it has helped me develop a closer relationship with God. The more I've prayed in my life the more I understand Him, understand what He wants of me and it helps to make sure I don't make stupid mistakes (which is very easy for me). So essentially prayer helps to make sure I make the right decisions, not just relating to my career but all areas of my life.
Connect with Claudia on Twitter @ClaudiaLizaBBC
Words By Emmanuel Boateng
Interview & Edited by Grlinmedia