Clive Myrie, black and determined

Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti

To be at the centre of a television screen may make people feel uncomfortable, especially when you are an exception, as a black person in the BBC white staff.

Despite that, Clive Myrie, Afro- Caribbean BBC News presenter, carries on his job with great expertise.
He has received many nominations for his wide-ranging career, which, regardless his ethnicity, includes many roles as Foreign Correspondent for the prestigious broadcast company.

Clive Myrie has been guest of the Harrow Conversation at the University of Westminster, on the 20th November. “On being black in TV and Presenting the Network news” was the title of the meeting, which focused mainly on his extraordinary job around the world and in the UK.

Climbing towards the dream

“You will make it, if you are good”, was the journalist’s final statement and advice for the young audience who attended the event.
Determination and great passion could well sum up Clive Myrie’s life, which rises to the top, without obstacles made by the colour of his skin.

He was born in the 1964 in Bolton, Lancashire. His parents were Jamaican immigrants.

He got a law degree at the University of Sussex and afterwards took part of the BBC Corporation’s graduate journalist programme.
Since then, he became Radio reporter at Bristol (1988) for the British Broadcast Corporation, which he left for a year in the Independent Radio News.

Nevertheless, as far as “broadcast” includes other strands, he came back to the BBC for starting his career in television.

Foreign correspondent in more than fifty countries, Clive Myrie covered stories as the Lewinsky scandal, the wars in Kosovo, and in the Middle East.

“Journalism is what I wanted to do”, he said, remembering his Radio experience at the University.
Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti
The law degree helps him a lot to understand the legislative stories and political plots, but he left the legal career as soon as possible. As he said, he could have earned more money, but he has a lot of fun and he incredibly enjoys much more this path, which was his dream.

BAME staff at the BBC

BAME is the abbreviation which stands for Black, Asian, and minority ethnic people – especially used for the non-white communities who live in the United Kingdom.

According to Myrie giving his opinion about a greater diversity in the BBC staff, the British network includes in its staff only 5% of BAME employees, and the number is going down.

In the Royal Charter for the continuance of the British Broadcasting Corporation – October 2006 – at the section Incorporation and Purposes we found:
4. The Public Purposes
The Public Purposes of the BBC are as follows—
(a) sustaining citizenship and civil society;
(b) promoting education and learning;
(c) stimulating creativity and cultural excellence;
(d) representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities;

According to what Clive Myrie said, as a national body, funded by the licence fee – which is paid by everybody, with no exceptions – the BBC has to represent all its communities. Therefore, it seems strange to observe that there are so few people from diverse minorities.

However, the number of women increased, as we can see from the female presenters in the bulletins.

The Telegraph, in June 2014, reported the promise made by the director-general, Lord Hall, about a more multi-ethnic staff. He announced than “onein seven BBC presenters and actors is to be black, Asian or minority ethnicwithin the next three years”, as reported by The Telegraph.

Fall and rise again

Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti
“I learnt by doing and getting wrong a lot of the times” Clive Myrie said.
He didn’t follow the traditional journalism’s path.
He improved his skills while working in the local station in Bristol.

It seems the process by a baby learns to walk. The more you try, the better you achieve.
Even if this practice the majority of the times make you hurt.

Nevertheless, it makes stronger and increasingly determined, till to reach the top.