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Read this: Media Masters - Debbie Ramsay

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Media Masters - Debbie Ramsay…

Media Masters with Paul Blanchard welcome to media Masters a series of one-to-one interviews with people at the top of the media game I was definitely not top of the midi again this week as technical problems with our audio equipment meant that the recording didn't quite metre usual high standard and so my question is have been re-recorded.

We're at the BBC's new broadcasting house to make Debbie Ramsey editor at BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra Newsbeat the flagship news program has a weekly audience of around 8 million 16 to 24 year olds with between 8 and 14 million views online who articles videos and social media Debbie join the BBC in 2006 and has exclusive use of young audiences for more than a decade covering everything from celebrity news to documentary showcasing young people's potential.

She's also chair of the BBC digital apprenticeship scheme which mentors young journalist at the start of their careers.

I apologise to Debbie for the poor quality of its recording and

Alison we hope it doesn't affect your enjoyment of the podcast too much so Debbie 60 to 24 year olds are traditionally hard to reach audience group.

How are you doing? It always been about 445 years now so we tried and tested.

I think probably every method going and really just settled on the simple fact that you speak to people simply and clearly in their own language and you talk about subjects that matter to them and you help explain the world for them and I think if you do that without patronising them then you're really good place to attract him people.

Could you talk us through a typical day editing Newsbeat Edison the program that kind of an and online and social media week? I never stop the date all together really so we'll have an ideas meeting first thing and everybody just chips in whatever they want to chip in what they've seen and most importantly.

It's about treatments so yeah.

Are we might be the first subject of the day is brexit? We need to talk about how we are going to explain it for a young audience so we try not to just have a meeting whereby we're all showing off what we know and we try not to question what would our audience be interested in what should they be interested in and also look at kind of stories that apply to their life as well and that reflect their lifestyles and their views and think about how we get that across them what the news angles are for our audience specifically we will ask for example.

You know would a 23 year old in Hull care about this story and if they don't how can we make them care about this story.

We should they care about this story and if I don't care about the story.

What is the story that they're talking about today because there was a patronising view among some older commentators that you have to dumb down stories to get young people interested in the news and I found that that's clearly not true.

Absolutely not true.

I think if you if you look at newspapers, I started in newspapers and if you look at it's far easier to write for broadsheet publication with lots of worse than it is to write for a tabloid publications you try and summer story up in 15 to 20 words in the first line.

That's what that's what those papers due day in day out and it is a real skill to telling the new simply and getting all the main points across and said he's not coming down at all.

It's just speaking to people clearly and plainly not putting on any years and graces.

Is there a new way of doing things and use the way of covering a story I guess it is just thinking about first and foremost as a reporter do I understand that and it if I don't understand it, then I shouldn't be repeating it on it shouldn't be copying something and I shouldn't be putting something out on here that I don't understand so the starting point has to be.

Do I understand it and you know would would somebody in our audience understands every word of that and what that means then? It's it's about your tone and about just not treating people as is idiots really just because they might not get a certain topic or understand a really long word like superfluous or something you just don't use his car the jargon and talk to people simply as you would t2a mate really whatever it is you are you don't talk to him a job.

You just talk to them as a normal person.

I'm sure my age now, but I use too much prefer BBC Newsround to the main bulletin because John Craven actually took the time to explain the background to the stories the Raven just assuming that we knew the rich history of the conflict between these two countries and I don't it's all about context and I think the BBC as a whole was getting better at that, but it's something that we've always done that sits high up on the list how we going to sprained sprained it.

What is the context of this? Where does this?

Storage fitting in the world and how does it explain the world around them because young people your listeners are incredibly curious about the world imagine that rather than trying to track their interest.

It's actually the opposite that they are inundating you with an abundance of interesting stories long time been working with young audiences with their intelligence their Curiosity and they really aren't like how I think a lot of people might think young people are in a just celeb driven.

Not really much about them actually the opposite is true.

They care about their health.

They care about the mental well-being they care about being being successful.

They care about working.

They care about their jobs.

They care about other people in the world.

They care about an injustice.

You know there's a wide range of topics that I think news be covered for years before any.

GLS even touch them out which are really serious topics like self-harm mental health in young people with been doing that for years before it became not not trendy before it became recognised as it should be recognised and really quite mainstream to talk about her mental health problems.

We don't just focus on on Celebrity driven.

You know if there is a new story to be told about a celebrity of course.

We will do it, but we don't just do it frivolously unit we were the first people on the jussie smollett story and that said that's a really interesting intricate story and there are lots of stories like that around music and around film and around entertainment and that's not to say that we don't like the Avengers all we don't talk about love Island all we don't talk about kind of the other areas.

All the Bodyguard fleabag of course we do but we always try and strive to actually not just be talking about them for the safe talking about them.

That's what the other presenters that therefore we are there to find a new line for it and talk about the news angle of of entertainment stories.

We have Paul royal on the podcast recently who is the editor of The BBC 6 and 10 news and he was talking about how the 6th of the 10th differ from one another in terms of their mix of stories like the 10 is slightly longer slightly more internationalist is there a new Balance of stories? What would an ideal program look like in terms of the pie chart, so I guess we always like this old-fashioned because it is an old-fashioned saying that somebody said to me we do like light and shade, so we don't like it to all be really really heavy stuff to be do think about making sure we don't leave the listener that they're down in the dumps and actually wondering what to do with life.

We do try to.

Can you play taki taki mean you're serious topic like eating disorders, we try and make sure we give the listener or the reader rule the viewer something they can use to help them if they are experience.

That's all get experience in that sort of thing so we try not to just ever have a program where it's just all kind of Doom and Gloom but we know what regions like those stories like us to seek out those stories that are inspirational as well those stories the where somebody has turned a corner and turned things around and so we just always make sure that we are doing our best to do that as well and coding Radio 1 and 1, Extra we we have access to some of the biggest dog in the world in terms of musicians, and we we strive our entertainment team grey and they strive to get those interviews and get those exclusives as well, which are often sometimes.

They're a bit lighter inverted commas and the rest of the news.

I think probably only it's only us news bugs you think of Muses kind of life and all that's Lighter Story all that's featuring story if if you haven't heard it before for our audiences back in the good old days when you took the times every morning.

What's the News at Ten and that was it it was more appointment of you How was the plurality of different platforms changed your journalism because now people are listening to Linear radio, but they're also listen to iPlayer catch up.

There's the podcast the BBC's QD and bracelet by the sounds that how is that changed your journalism.

You were talking about exploring issues like eating disorders.

This is right for longer form journalism.

We have it's been a really really long time.

I would say 56 may be 7 years since we just sort of ourselves as radio Uno never fully operating online operation to be writing articles with making social videos we are making iPlayer documentaries unit we have stuff that goes out on my YouTube channel and basically we are where are audiences so I don't think.

Something you can be snow be about and think oh well young people looking on Instagram on Instagram Snapchat to get on used to as many people as possible when you can't do that, if you just focusing on radio you know if you look at Radio One lady, phenomenally well on YouTube you know and I think it would be really strange it people just thought of a Radio 1 sister radio station is absolutely not and it is important of course.

It's important for us to make sure that people know it's coming from the BBC and that that is more about us focusing on making sure I'll branding is life, but as for the platforms and how we get it to young people we can't we can't be small bit about that.

We've got to get where they get in if they leave the platform then we leave a platform you know it's it's it's a simple as that really you just not gonna survive in this day and he can't turn the clock backwards to the

Everybody just made the appointment to to listen when you wanted them to listen and how was the metrics driven UI tutorial decision back in the good old is a newspaper with only know just how many sold on the new stand off a radial beer age are all the viewing figures for telly now even with my podcast I can tell how many people have clicked what drugs than their how long they listen for and at what point I became boring and the so-called abandonment point all about.

How do you connect with your audience? I think everybody used to just pretty much taste clicks and of course you do there's no point in doing stuff.

If they nobody's listening to it or nobody's reading it, but there are things that are more important.

I think as important light engagement and like you say how long people listening for how long have people watching something for how are they sharing? You know if you see a look at them your content being shared on Facebook how are they showing you what the comments and what type of people have a sharing it with and it's really trying to engage with your audience a bit more on th.

Front also talked to them on those platforms and we we still get actually get a lot of emails still it's so I know maybe two people were at work or but we still get a lot and it's about making sure you are still talking to the audience and lots of thinking with holes social media now all nobody texting anymore.

Nobody emails all so it's all kind of all done in the Aether it's not it's just a bit about making sure that you're not just taking and you are engaging and chatting and giving something back to the audience without being overly August about the question as it won't do you feel a special sense of responsibility as the BBC as a public service broadcaster to connect with young people because a commercial broadcaster might have a token offering to make a bit of money and then said well, we're not going to do it because there's not enough money in it and that would be a fair decision, but you guys have a special responsibility to connect with hard to reach audiences absolutely and I feel really passionately about that.

I kind of done.

And I'm beautiful really passionately that we have a duty to give young people a voice and tell their Stories not just explain the world to them it hit is a two-way street, and actually is to help them as a public service broadcaster is to help them help them through life kinda.

Specially in these years when you're trying to make up your mind about things.

It's just make sure they got all the tools all the facts.

They know both sides of the story than they can make up their own own mind and it's about keep making sure we're keeping keeping out that and keeping that in mind as always keeping the audience in mind.

You know where I think it's really important and really important for the BBC that they actually do engage with young people now because it's critical out talking to them on their level and being where they are and finding finding and exploring new ways to attract the night BBC sounds as you know it says it's a massive.

Steve project that we've launched BBC without intent being to attract younger audiences through podcast and that the massive statement to make and it's about continuing to actually maybe sometimes go against the grain or take that risk having the right kind of programming and Oscars news be having the right kind of stories and making sure that those stories appear on other outlets as well.

So you know quite often we will do the piece as story and it will appear on on Victoria Derbyshire show or on breakfast or even the 1610 Rhys gaming reporter from gaming baftas, who did peaceful 6 amp for the 10 you know it's it's about us as well pushing our stuff out then and pushing young people's forward as a as voices to be reckoned with and not just coming to them on the topics that you think you should come to them on my college education and knife crime even AllMusic

You know that's not all young people do and talk about representing think about very talented talented young people in the UK and we should tap into that more.

I think is as the media result and what's your impact internationally because I appreciate your remit is the UK but you must have a lot of international listeners.

We do have a lot of international YouTube follow example some of the content without their people couldn't find in their own countries content like that said we'd meet the we a couple of years ago.

Did a documentary when we took two am transgender men back to Jamaica that's where they came from but they grown up in the UK and that did really well internationally because it's a topic that you wouldn't see covered by the media in that area with also recently done the world's and BBC World commissioned us to do a series of what it's like being 17 in different.

This is around the world which was really successful and really interesting and informative than you know which places like Uganda go on Arran India Russia and it's just interesting to see how other people are living their lives as well now the people take on the world, so I don't I think our audiences got more and more internationalist young people stay focused just on their world, but they also are so they're a bit of a contradiction and they let us know when they think they're not covering the physical of natural lot of people like me that would I mean when you mentioned what it's like to be 17 around the world that strictly is incredibly interesting piece of journalism that crank it because it's News me and I'm not a young person anymore.

I might not necessarily clicked on that stay Milos is there a cut-off point do people self cut off.

I think people sometimes sometimes they they might.

Think that they should cut off and some people do some people do want kind of the word a different level of new so they might get it into the Today programme all outlet for news all they might get quite often I hear through all the paperwork my older brother is a good example is he makes people listen to news be in his office before they leave so they can catch up on the days news and cos it's easy is easy to consume.

So he even outside the target age.

He still thinks ok if I want to know what's going on.

I quickly I'm going to listen.

So even though it's not intended for outside 30 people still listen because we tell them you simply as editor what's top of your to-do list at the moment other than get the shopping in like strategically.

What's the big thing? You've got on or is there Malta

Thanks, I guess for us, so we thinking a lot about audio with a proposition podcast we we done a few podcast them with Doug cup of both of which supposed to say we done the story of Izzy Dix End podcast called I Hear Voices and and we have a small podcast coming out in May around mental health, so we're looking at that are Rolling in that kind of Arena but also we we can't ever forget that we still have around 8 million listeners every week, so radio is really important to maintain that standard and white team is just super creative and thinking in ways that I don't think most of the rest of the BBC think so, I don't know the rest of the media may be but they are super creative and keep coming up with different ways to tackle subjects and and it's really important we do.

Lee syatt the fact that we can't suddenly just say all radios dead.

We don't need to focus on that we just focus on online, but equally online is important to us and we should be joined with the main new site a year ago and that's going really well, so more people are seeing or content and more young people is phenol content so that's really important to us to maintain that and help change the tone of the entire new site.

I would hope and the town of the rest of the BBC in its approach to young people cos we're in a prized position to do say to you to help our colleagues are collaboration another big thing for us this year.

I mentioned world, but we have kind of other irons in the fire that we looking at collaborating with and just making sure that we can get these great stories that are out there an amp to a bigger audience really good.

We're still making or iPlayer documentaries full.

which are married and then he died last time we followed dillian Whyte and he trying to pursue a heavyweight title bout with Anthony Joshua great access and that.

In lots of places not just the BBC we're looking at doing one on migraines next so the very very ones on anyone's on what it's like to go bald when you're young from a male and female perspective because I think most people may be thought about perspective but not from a female perspective and it's really important for me and for Newsbeat that we make sure we're telling those details and they are diversity diverse stories and we keep giving our audience voice you clearly speak with evident passion about your job and connecting with audiences like your doing and you mentioned that you've done every single job within you speak to the

Question is why what is it attracted you to this type and style of journals and letters kept you still at it I started in newspapers because I could always right.

I was always a good write and I didn't really know what I wanted to do but then I very sort of quickly sort radios lot more quicker.

Lot more immediate for me.

So I am delighted that I work 5 days a week by weekly newspaper in Southport and then I the weekends I mean lighted at the rock FM radio full-time and so it's just I just like the immediacy of it and quite early on in my career at news beats.

I was asked to commission documentaries which were how long documentaries working with Indies as well as internally and I just absolutely love that the chance to get in debt from those story.

So even though I've been here a while.

I've done lots of things so I done the reporting of done the editing the commissioning documentaries edited the program.

I've been online editor been planning editor the deputy editor to be done because everybody is in a bit of a transition period and trying to cope cope with grabbing everybody's attention the mobile changed everything for everyone in terms of getting people's attention because you can get everything on your phone.

So why are you going to come to the BBC maths Challenge for us all and I think there is lots that you can still do around that so yeah.

I haven't decided what next quite it seems to me there in a can of time under tension pole Society these days.

We had an editor of a paper in about a year or so go to the in the good old days.

The sun's main competitors the mirror now the sun's main competitors the Netflix app icon which is next to on the phone.

Everything Facebook all social people are competing against if I look at my Facebook feed it's what my friends are doing but it's also the latest posts from Save Rock Obama the New York Post on newsfeed.

It just seems to be all In The Mix these days.

He really is a more people squeezing more activities into such a short space of time than they used to as well, but there are you can't turn my back now.

So you just have to find ways of writing that way than actually turning it to your advantage so it's challenging but quite exciting in terms of opportunities as well for vpc.


Do you see a sense of responsibility that Newsbeat is a can of Beacon of change within the BBC more widely in terms of diversity you've spoke about where they are now integrating with the website attracted different audiences.

Do you feel a special sense of responsibility even within the BBC solutely I do feel it is our job to actually affect change across the board where it means to be.

Obviously not going to go and Sweep in then and suddenly say that we think the Today programme should be different and should they should play music beds under it etc, but we haven't we have had our stories no content running on today.

It's about kind of finding the right tone for the the audience but still telling that story that's importantly you know we do have pieces that go out on piano pieces that go on 5 Live and as I said he also on the TV and I think that's really important that we are playing that role more and more as just bringing those different sorts of stories and there's more diverse stories and more importantly there's authentic story because I think they're a lot of people who try to do young then so perhaps do it very well.

Are you kind of pulled in different directions sometimes within the BBC I mean? I've watched all episodes of w1s research, but you're not given that you're doing so well.

If I was head of a different department in the BBC I want to Nicole

What do ideas and try and get as much of your energy and creativity? Do you find that? You haven't nichten volunteered onto some of the boards you can be in a position.

Whereby you kind of felt maybe they're not enough attention was paid paid to news for young people and then suddenly think it was too much attention now.

Don't you just have to find a way to navigate through it.

I think cos it's important and you know I do try to give my time where I can give my ideas where I can because I do think it is there are enough of them for people to tell it's not a case of this is that a territory in and nobody else can touch it it may be that we think we know that we can tell it in a better way which is different to to say nobody else you touch this but it's about kind of trying to influence.

The whole of the BBC into a different more relaxed way of thinking and does this job keep you young because I remember my mid-20s there was almost like a moment when I deliberately stop listening to Radio One started listening to Ken Bruce on Radio 2 visa.

Cos a legend and when I officially declared myself proto middle-aged.

You know none of us are getting any younger, but you're still doing youth journalism, is that because you are absorbing it day today and it's keeping you young you in some ways and also I think it's really important to have a diverse team not in just in terms of race or gender, but also in terms of age is really really important that we have a wide range of people in terms of age and experience and knowledge because while the younger members of the team might bring us to certain story that an older member might not bring to realise that still really need the experience of a member of the team so we have people from.

19 and it's really important not to think ok all our team me.

We need to get rid of everyone who's over the age of 25 and just bringing lots of young people so we do need to bring in more young people and learn from them and realise that it is there a two-way street Will Young People themselves, and he said that you won't have to look at the phenomenon of say Jeremy Corbyn for example do some people seasonal gifts he said that himself and yet on the other hand you can x incredibly well with young people because they see pasties age and look for his authenticity is a politician.

I don't agree with its politics, but I believe he believes it and that's got to mean something authenticity is so important for a young audience send it again in terms of the correspondence for you as you know we have had John so bald do us correspondent to stuff for us.

We've had Frank Gardner do stuff for us.

It's not about age.

It's about authenticity as well.

You know and if somebody is the next.

I see something and then they will get on there if there were good talker because we don't have that sound production as well and who can get the message across in the simplest way, and it is it is just about having that range of about the videos you doing on iPlayer then because they seem to be having a huge impact this is from my team.

Just let me to my team is a multimedia.

They are truly multimedia unit thereby their reading writing an online article create the video or making a documentary and the thing about the iPlayer documentaries is actually they are rule ideas suggested by the team and then we build on them and what is really important to us that the subject to the contributors is front and centre so lots of them don't have reported in but they have reported behind them and we just try and

Topics that also I think people don't think of young people in certain lights go like you did one on young undertaken.

See you in their 20s well to the 17th training to be an an undertakers and there was a chapels in his 20s who has an undertaking business and we did a documentary on that and it was just so just the carer which one of the young trainees this young woman took while painting the nails of somebody's Gran who died was just you just don't expect to see that sort of thing so I think I'm documentaries about kind of exposing at the subject you would necessarily think about you like it any kind of one of them really strong documentaries from last year.

Just focusing on what it is and what the latest researches and trying to give people a sense of what it what it was like.

Just really important for those Docks to be really off.

Sentik and have the right people in we did the dog called my mind me where we followed VI listings actually pay well listening and I wonder who had definite different mental health conditions that have been diagnosed with different mental health conditions and we followed them over the course of the Year pretty much so we could show the ups and downs.

I don't think there are many people commercially he would even consider that project but we felt it was really really important and it has such huge impact on our audience.

Yeah, it was it was well worth so we we try and tackle subjects.

Whereby you learn something and Discover something or identify with some something in its aim for the ball This documentary on when you buy newspaper like The Guardian you expect it to have a can of left of centre approach and if you bought the times you expected to be right of sent it now in terms of the generational focus that you did with young people is there any

Tension between Generations and how would you cover that separate apple brexit? It's a fact that largely older people voted leave in the younger.

You are the much more likely you are to have voted remain.

So is there potentially a generational attention that and do you take the side of young people reflect that we also acknowledge that actually if you move out of the M25 and go up with the age difference becomes less of a factor in if you go to the northwest of England and a talk about brexit, then.

You don't get as much disparity necessarily as you do if you were in the south.

So it is just making sure that we give equal opportunity for those arguments to be heard and challenged on both sides, and I don't think I don't think I found I think that most people think that we would find that tension being a lot more but I don't think we've found that in terms of our listeners.


Coming brexit in the sea on surfboards with two surfing friends who had differing views about it and they're both yeah, it's it's it's about making sure that we're not going with the Assumption just totally along the lines of saying all young people wanted to remain all old people wanted to leave because it's just not if it's just too complex for that so we just make sure we keep in that context.

Do you have a unique angle on issues of particular relevance to young people like knife crime and gun violence when they are statistically evidential a much more likely to be victims of got a nice balance from one way so it's not just coming at it from all do all music is to blame for all young black men do this and this is why they shouldn't.

It's a bit more complex than that so you know we recently had some had a very successful video and article of a guy who who is vs.

Been to jail is rehabilitated and he explained why he he carried knife and why he stabs something and it was a lot more complex than the kind of general that you've you've heard and to the point of you know we know that I will send me your audience on 1Xtra the reaction from them and the teams around the building with that ok.

That's the first time.

I've ever had somebody speak just authentically about the reality without innit.

We will still challenging of course but you still need to hear what people have to say and how they felt and their experience so it's really important for us that we don't rush in and look at things from the same ankle and it's also again about the context those as well because you know things like now.

Crime you would assume I think from a lot of the coverage that it is just a black problem, but it's not if you look at the actual staff there for far more white people being stabbed than black people maybe not in London but overall you know it's it's about making sure we don't lose sight of yes, it's a problem, but we don't lose sight of the context and that's what I think sometimes other places do though we try not to be really try not to me all about context and it's about getting those different variety voices for the people can they make up their own Minds does it frustrate you in certain middle-range tabloid maybe want to condemn and sensationalize headlines like that.

He doesn't seem to be helpful to society to Stoke the Flames of this.

Can I practice tabloids would argue they wouldn't do it if people didn't buy I don't know if I would say that that is is that their role is probably why the conversation for the entire Media what your

Intensive kind of the tabloids taking a certain item will be very know their readers very well.

They reflecting their readers VX what's been the best day of your career so far and the final question one piece of advice.

Would you give to someone starting out in Jenners and now? They're listening to this.


You know the decade or two I want to be the editor of newspaper.

What advice would you give them now my best day is really rubbish best day of my career and I should say this is not even using really best day of my career was when I was a capital on the breakfast shift and Patrick Stewart came in the sports guy told him that I was a massive fan, but I couldn't go meet him because I thought was gonna be sick.

I just couldn't say I am one of the report is printed out of picture and he write me a note on a picture of person listening to this is starting out on a journalism career now.


I want to be.

What should he or she do or not do keep learning Don't Tread on anyone to get there? Don't claim credit for work? That's not yours.

Keep coming up with ideas and being open to people challenging those ideas and changing your mind and also don't get bogged down in other people's hang up because I think if I had got knocked down in other people's Hangouts I wouldn't be where I am today if I got bogged down in the person who thinks of a bit strange.

She's black woman who in a position of leadership and got back down in their back fold down in their agenda, then I would be where I am today Debbie I think you're awesome and I think you're an inspiration.

Thank you ever so much for your time at right angles podcast in association with big things Media

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