Is being ginger really such a big deal?

I’m not happy, not happy at all.

Around this time last year, I was full of optimism and excitedly applying for any job which I felt remotely qualified for.

The BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme was the dream, twelve months with some of the best broadcasters and journalists learning everything I could and hopefully kick starting a long and successful career.

As with most job applications, the first stage included several long answer questions.

One of these was;

The BBC makes programmes for every part of the UK population. We want journalists who can help us to connect with these varied audiences. How would insights from your background or life experience help us connect with an under-served audience? With this audience in mind please suggest an idea for a news story. How would it work on radio, TV and online?

I thought long and hard about this question. I’ll be the first to admit that I have had an incredibly fortunate upbringing and thought I might struggle to find something which could connect with people from all walks of life. For some reason I settled on the fact that I’m ginger, it seemed like a great place to start.

I apologise for some of the questionable sentences but this was my answer, published on the 1st February 2016;

When I was growing up, I just felt like any normal teenager. I went to school, I had friends and I tried my best. That was just how school was.
However, since moving on and meeting different people I’m asked about my school days. Specifically what it was like going to school a red head. Many people have asked if I found it difficult growing up ginger and if there was ever any negativity, but in truth I just felt like every confused kid in the playground.
I’m really interested to see if this is something other people have experienced, is being ginger really such a big deal? And if it was five years ago when my friends were at school, how has this changed with the rise in profile of stars like Florence Welch, Ed Sheeran and Rupert Grint?
This story would be best suited to a television or online audience. I think it would be brought to life with pictures and case studies. Interviews with individuals about their experiences in school growing up ginger, could begin to address the issues of discrimination in British schools.
I believe it would appeal to a wide and varied audience and would fit in with BBC3 as it is the home of modern factual content that speaks to a young audience. BBC3 has shown some eye opening and thought provoking documentaries in the past and I think this story would fit in with its portfolio of work.
Increasingly social media is providing television audiences with direct contact with producers, giving them a voice to express their opinions. Audience feedback could help build on this story and uncover peoples experiences with the issues raised and could give an even larger sample of case studies for further investigation.

And now, over a year later, I’ve found out that BBC3 really are making a programme about growing up ginger and the negativity associated with it!

Gobsmacked doesn’t quite cover it.



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