Social Launch – The Inverness Courier leadership debate from a young journalist’s perspective

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I'm ready to start the discussion.  Photo: James Mackenzie
I’m ready to start the discussion. Photo: James Mackenzie

Exactly one year ago today, I was sitting in my high school common room, trying to craft my thoughts into a cover letter for a job as a trainee journalist at the Rossshire and Northern Times.

I had just finished pre-grad, and was worried about my school going into another Covid-19 lockdown.

I really didn’t expect much to happen with this cover letter – I thought it would be an opportunity to gain experience applying for a job, or maybe an interview at most.

But here I am, just a year later, surrounded by professionals in this field, shaking hands with the next First Minister of Scotland, which of the three candidates will be voted on by next Monday.

The Highland News and Media team in the media room.  Photo: James Mackenzie
The Highland News and Media team in the media room. Photo: James Mackenzie

With the arrival of the three candidates – Kate Forbes, Ash Regan and Hamza Yusuf – and communication with each other and with our media team, I think there was positive energy in the leadership debate from the start.

From what I could see during the debate, our audience also had a great time, with many people confirming that the debate was not as brutal as the previous televised debate. It is undeniable that there was a more collaborative atmosphere throughout the evening.

Being someone born in 2006, social media is something I’m really familiar with, so when I was asked to help with our social media content for discussion, I knew I wanted to execute it as high as possible.

Social media video journalism is something that really interests me because it’s constantly changing and evolving, and if I’m being honest, I don’t think any media organization really knows how social media video journalism works – yet. But that’s exactly why I think it’s such an exciting thing to be a part of.

In a short social media video journalism course with funders, Meta and NCTJ, guest speaker Michelle Verson of ReachPic said, “We often find that people who have done very traditional journalism who then work in video journalism do the best they can.”

That’s why I believe that working for an organization like Highland News and Media, which until recently was largely dependent on print newspapers, and being able to learn from people who have experience in a very different industry than my own, is something I value very much.

Iona MacDonald.  Photo: James Mackenzie
Iona MacDonald. Photo: James Mackenzie

Sitting in the audience for our debate, I knew that journalism is something I want to invest hard work into, and one day I want to create something like that, too.

I am so grateful to be part of the debate as a journalist, but even more so as a teenager from a rural village in the Highlands, to finally have our voices heard.

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