Marverine Cole is a freelance journalist and broadcaster who has worked as a Producer and Presenter for the BBC, ITV, Sky News and Arise TV. She also happens to be a Beer Sommelier (accredited by The Beer Academy) and is one of Britain’s leading female experts on beer. She currently works as a Live Presenter on Britain’s Biggest Shopping Channel, QVC (Sky 640, Virgin 740)
Who are you?
I was born and bred in Birmingham. My parents are from Jamaica – they settled in the city in the late 1950s. I have an Honours degree in Business Studies from De Montfort University, a Postgraduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism from Birmingham City University. I live in Birmingham with my husband, Austen, I also live in West London.
I’ve worked as Producer and Presenter for BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Midlands Today, ITV Central News and BBC Radio WM in Birmingham. After that in 2008, I joined Sky News in London as an Anchor of the five-hour ‘World News & Business Report’ programme on Sky News in London. I’m a Newsreader for African-focused news channel, Arise TV. I’m a judge for the NCTJ’s Journalism Diversity Fund. I also produced ‘Ladies With Lyrics’, a documentary for BBC Radio1Xtra about the rising female stars of the UK rap scene, and she’s also explored the world of female gamblers for BBC Radio 4, ‘Lucky Be A Lady Tonight’. I’m a Managing Partner in Funf Media, a corporate video production company run by myself and my husband, who’s a Cameraman, Producer, Director and Video Editor.
What do you love most about being a broadcasting journalist?
You never know what stories are going to come along each day. Plus the more I grew in experience, the more I could focus on investigating my own original stories. You get the chance to meet people at the heart of a story, people who you wouldn’t get to meet in any other job. From celebrities to politicians, heroes and villains from all walks of life.
Describe a typical day on set
There’s no typical day as such. Each day at QVC is different, I’m working a different type of show each day but there are constants – getting in beforehand to choose what you’re going to wear on set, heading back stage to take a close look at everything you’re going to be selling, researching all your items, meeting the guests who you’re going to be on air with, attending off to any update meetings or training sessions.
Anything I’ve wanted in my career, I’ve not waited for
How did you come to choose your career?
I was bitten by the News & Current Affairs bug at a very early age – probably about 7yrs old, when I used to read the daily newspaper in Birmingham: my Mum had delivered. Once she finished reading it, I would read it too. Plus we always had the local news and the 10pm news on TV each night. Sir Trevor McDonald and Moira Stewart were my inspiration. I’ve been working in the media on and off since I was 18 years old – everything from being a music radio DJ to a Traffic & Travel News Presenter. I went into journalism full-time at the age of 32 with two aims – to anchor on a rolling news channel and establish my own production company. Since then I’ve achieved both things and more. I’ve never looked back.
What drives you?
Ideas – I very rarely sit down. My mind is always whirring. The media industry is driven by, and thrives, on original ideas – it has to – they’re what makes the public sit down and watch the TV or listen to the radio. I’m also driven to provide the very best financially for my family and extended family.
Does your career contribute to you feeling empowered?
Yes it does – to know that everything I’ve achieved has been by me stepping up to challenges and asking for opportunities (e.g. training) which have helped me progress in my career. Anything I’ve wanted in my career, I’ve not waited for. I’ve never been given a helping hand in terms of any positive discrimination either. I’ve just gone out there and grasped it. If you sit and wait for good breaks to happen, you’ll be waiting until your hair turns grey!
Many TV executives have a mindset that to hire African-Caribbean media professionals is a risk. So if you’re not driven enough to keep trying and seeking out those executives who are prepared to give you a chance, then you will drop out of the industry.
Are there any specific challenges encountered on your journey that comes to mind?
Yes, I once heard huge rumours in a newsroom about a particular fellow journalist being groomed to be promoted from reporter to reading the early morning news bulletins. In my eyes we were both ready for that challenge. Instead of sitting back and watching it all happen around me and me not have the chance to do that job either, I asked my boss if I could attend thesame training course that this particular journalist was being offered. I didn’t want to be left behind, because I believed in my heart of hearts that I was just as good, if not better than her. In the end, 7 months after we both had the Newsreader training, I was offered a job as ‘World News and Business Report’ Anchor at Sky News in London so I left my permanent job at the BBC.
Do you feel African-Caribbeans are marginalised by the British mainstream media?
Yes, I firmly do believe that. Many TV executives have a mindset that to hire African-Caribbean media professionals is a risk. So I believe that if you’re not driven enough to keep trying and seeking out those executives who are prepared to give you a chance, then you might end up dropping out of the industry. You only have to read the statistics in the recent Lenny Henry papers to see how many thousands of BAME professionals have left the industry to see what’s happening. It’s shocking.
For some inexplicable reason TV executives think a black face won’t sell, won’t put bums on seats, won’t be able to do the job as good as a white person. Many also claim ‘We can’t find the talent’. It’s a poor argument because you only have to look at the wealth of incredible online web series with all black cast and crew which are excelling: some now given a platform by London Live. Derren Lawford acquired some of these shows to broadcast on the channel, which shows what happens when you have African-Caribbean commissioners – they are bothered to source exceptional new talent.
The same goes for TV Newsreaders and TV Presenters – there’s potential out there. I’ve seen it. I get contacted by up-and-coming presenters all the time. Maybe some people just need training and guidance. I’ve mentored countless aspiring journalists and media professionals about routes into the industry, I’ve helped them with their CVs and offered advice and training on how to handle themselves in front of a camera.
3 tips for an aspiring broadcast journalist
- Don’t stop until you get what you want. Sometimes you’ll have to take a job that’s NOT your dream job to get by. Enjoy that experience and learn all you can.
Do whatever you can to build up your skills and knowledge. Formal training, private training, becoming an all-rounder – knowing your media law, developing good news judgment so you can source and sell original news stories, get blogging, writing your own news scripts & stories, filming, directing camera crew, producing TV & radio bulletins, audio and video editing, speaking well and looking good on camera. In this digital age, a journalist needs to be able to turn their hand to, and be competent, in all of the above – I can. Make sure you’re able to or you’re not going to be attractive to an employer or commissioner. If you’re not marketable, you’re might find it difficult to get paid
Network, meet people, engage on social media with others. There are so many more resources out there than when I was 18yrs old – when there was NO internet! There’s no excuse NOT to get your name out there.
3 inspirational media personalities
- Moira Stewart
- Sir Trevor McDonald
- Michelle Obama
Had you chosen another career field, what would it have been?
What’s so great about beer and why do you love it so?
Beer is a terrific low-strength alternative to wine and spirits. If you think beer is some flat brown, warm liquid, then think again. You need to go out there and try new exciting tasty beers – there’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Check out my blog: www.beerbeauty.co.uk for some suggestions. In fact, read this link to get you started if you’re new to beer: http://www.beerbeauty.co.uk/new-to-beer-try-my-top-ten-beers/
Your favourite quote
‘…..Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things’ – Matthew 6: 25-34
Connect with Marverine
Twitter: @TVMarv & @BeerBeauty | QVC Blog / QVC Presenter Page | Beer Beauty Blog
For anyone interested in beauty and skincare ,join my QVC Facebook page because I’ll be posting my regular weekly blog updates there and that’s also where you’ll get exclusive news of any castings. I’m actually working on an initiative right now exploring the ways QVC might be able to better reach out to women of colour, so if there are any beauty or skincare questions they want to ask me they can do via on the Comments page on my blog and or Facebook page.
Plus if there are any brands you might like to see on the channel – let me know and I can raise it with our buyers. I’m always interested in hearing from beauty entrepreneurs, make-up artists, fashion stylists, models, beauty bloggers and video bloggers, so when I’m working on projects you’ll be the first to know.
QVC sells many of the best-selling beauty brands and often launches new products ranges from these brands firs before the High Street or salons see them! Decleor, Elemis, Gatineau, L’Occitane, Bare Minerals, Bobbi Brown, Tarte, Stila, Nails INC, OPI, Wen, Philip Kingsley and many many more. An independent survey of 7,500 shoopers judged, QVC to be the second most trusted brand in Britain (beating First Direct, Amazon, Virgin and the like). Now in its 21st year of broadcasting, QVC is the most successful & longest running shopping channel in the UK. It’s part of the world’s largest shopping channel network: QVC US is the headquarters, with channels also in Germany, Italy and Japan.
FEMME PHENOMENAL is a journal recording the stories of all women – professionals, mothers, creative, students etc. The purpose of the journal serves to highlight your achievements and chronicle your journey to the present. FP aims to inspire and celebrate women.