21-06-2024

In conversation with Kamal Ahmed

We were honoured to welcome distinguished alumnus and renowned journalist, Kamal Ahmed, as a featured speaker on 3 May, 2024. Mr. Ahmed has made significant contributions to the field of journalism, having served as Editorial Director of BBC News, co-founder, and Editor-in-Chief of The News Movement, and in various other influential roles throughout his career. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q: 

Your book, "The Life and Times of a Very British Man," delves into personal and societal themes. What inspired you to write this book, and what message do you hope readers take away from it?

KA: 

What inspired me was Barack Obama. When he became the president of the United States, the fact that his mother was white and his father was black African, it suddenly really clicked with me what it was to be a mixed black man in the media field. Which is when I wrote the article in the Observer. To see the most powerful person, who was like me, and to write a story that got a huge reaction gave me the opportunity to tell a story that was considered quite rare for my generation. Writing the article for the Observer is what got me the opportunity to work with a book publisher. The book idea was mainly conceptualised to expand on the idea of my British story and being Mixed Race. In the 1980s, there was not much on this topic. So, my mother’s story, but also my father’s story coming here from Sudan and achievements he had made as a young Black African man, that is what inspired my book, which I hope helps a lot of people.

Q:

‍ Having covered Tony Blair's premiership as Political Editor of The Observer, what insights did you gain into the intersection of politics, media, and public perception during that era?

KA: 

Yes, there is that connection. Like you said there is public perception and media and those are the things that really matter. I was at a newspaper that was broadly supportive of Tony Blair, what he achieved or what he was trying to achieve, as a political editor I worked for an organization that was broadly supportive. I think it is important to not just take a singular point of view. I am impressed with your generation’s capability in critical thinking. Your generation has the advantage of having the world at your fingertips, while having abundant information at your disposal. I would advise to find various forms of information to help yourself navigate the world around you. 

Q:

Could you tell us about a memorable story or moment from your journalism career that has left a lasting impression on you?

KA:

I am proud of one memory, which is that I helped overturn a miscarriage of justice for someone who had been convicted of a crime they did not commit. I led the investigative journalism aspect of it, and I was proud of that because this person was wrongly convicted, and journalism is not just about getting news out but also helping amplify the voices of the people in need. 

Q:

In today's rapidly evolving media landscape, what advice would you give to aspiring journalists and young individuals interested in pursuing a career in journalism?

KA:

I would say pursue it! It is a great career choice; I have loved every minute of it. Make sure you are driven by the values of Journalism, which is helping people think, providing them with good information, that is based on truth and facts. You do have to learn your trade and make your own journey as a journalist. This means having some formal knowledge and proper research. Understand the way you can communicate to your audience, while understanding what they need and how can you serve them. 

DRAYTON MANOR HIGH SCHOOL

Headteacher: Ms L Mills
            

Drayton Bridge Road, London W7 1EU

Student absence:
studentabsence@draytonmanorhighschool.co.uk

General enquiries:
adminoffice@draytonmanorhighschool.co.uk

Finance enquiries:
finance@draytonmanorhighschool.co.uk
                 

School reception: 0208 357 1900

Student absence: 020 8357 5607

Staff absence: 0208 357 1910

Facilities Manager: 0208 357 1902

Finance Officer: 0208 357 1903