LAUNCHING: LEA JAKOBIAK

Current Employer:

Sky News, iTV, Saxo TV and invstr.

THE BIG QUESTIONS

WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL TITLE?

I wear several hats; I’m a Video Producer, Reporter and Moderator, and I specialise in business news.

WHAT DO YOU DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?

As I’m a freelancer, my days are very different! If I’ve been booked as a Reporter, I interview high profile people from the world of business or cover the latest business story. I travel to events and conferences around the world, as that’s where you find all the biggest names under one roof. As a Producer, I will get given an idea by a company and then it’s up to me to come up with a concept that fits their brand, manage the shoot and edit the video. As a moderator on a panel discussion, my job is to introduce the topic to the audience and then ensure that the debate flows between the panelists.

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD AND WHAT CHANGED?

I have always wanted to work in TV! Although when I was younger I only wanted to work for MTV, it was my ultimate life goal. As I got older my priorities and interests changed and I wanted to focus on more serious news. I am pretty matter of fact as a person, so it suits me more. Then I fell in to business news by pure coincidence, I was doing an internship at Sky News and they needed a Business Producer to fill in for a few days. I ended up working there for nearly three years! Once I got into it, I realised how interesting and diverse the world of business really is! But I must admit, it took a while!

WHAT ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?

I have a Masters in TV Journalism with Distinction from Goldsmiths College, University of London. My final project was a 30 minute film that I shot myself in the West Bank in Palestine. It’s still one of the things I’m most proud of. I also have a BA in International relations from Oxford Brookes. I went to school in France, Sweden and Singapore - we moved around a bit when I was a child.

WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?

Don’t be too proud at the beginning and take the smaller tasks in your stride even if you think you’re above them. Make sure the team likes to work with you and that you’re a good person to have around.

WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY?

I read Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’ when I was pregnant with my first daughter and it honestly changed my whole outlook on being a working Mum, it gave me a massive boost of confidence! So she is definitely one of my role models. I also follow successful working mums on instagram like Jessica Alba, Reese Witherspoon, Yoga Girl or Isabella Lowengrip and then feel less of the ‘Mum guilt’ when I’m away working lots. In terms of journalists, I love Liz Plank from Vox and think it’s amazing how she manages to turn politics in to such an appealing and fun topic, she’s really got her own style!

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORKING ENVIRONMENT?

The best thing is that as a freelancer I can pick and chose what I say yes to, both in terms of how relevant something is for my career, and in terms of being able to juggle work with family life.

WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOUR DAILY WORK ROUTINE IF YOU COULD?

I would have a cameraman to hand at all times. Sometimes I get a crew, but depending on the budget etc I may have to film myself and that means carrying all the heavy kit around on my own. Thankfully someone invented Uber and that has helped me a lot!

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME?

I will be doing what I’m doing now but on a much larger scale!

DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN BE THE SAME PERSON AT WORK AND IN PRIVATE?

TV is a real people’s business, if you don’t like to socialise and meet new people all the time, you may be finding it hard! I love talking all day and learning about new things so in that sense, yes, I can be myself at work. But I think everyone has somewhat of a ‘work face’.

WHERE AND IN WHAT ROLES ARE WOMEN IN THE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE AT YOUR COMPANY?

TV can be challenging because of the crazy work hours, night shifts and last minute travelling involved - that goes for both men and women - but you definitely see fewer women at the top. The technical side of TV production tends to be more male oriented but both men and women work on the production and presenting/ reporting side. However - as we recently saw when the BBC revealed how much it pays its staff, there is a HUGE pay gap that needs to be fixed in the media industry. Another issue is that a lot of prominent female Reporters, like BBC's Laura Kuenssberg, gets a lot of online abuse for just doing their job. They have thick skin!

DOES DIVERSITY MATTER TO YOU?

Yes, of course! Reporters are ‘the eyes and ears of the people’. So it’s important that a broad range of people can work in news to represent the actual population. Unfortunately, TV can be somewhat elitist because there are so many non-paid internships and runner jobs you ‘have to’ do before you get a job, meaning that lots of people who can’t afford to do the work experience get left out. This is slowly getting better but still needs to improve.

HOW GOOD IS YOUR WORK LIFE BALANCE?

I think my work life balance is pretty good however I have two children so it's not always easy to manage - but I make sure I do even if the solutions are a bit funny. For example, I am about to travel to the US for work - and as it's so far away I'm taking my youngest baby with me and my Mum too as my babysitter! Or I've had to pop out during my breaks from filming to pump breastmilk. Or I often have to reply to emails once my children are sleeping, meaning late nights. So 'behind the scenes' there is lots going on and it's a bit chaotic but it all works out in the end.

WHAT QUALITIES DOES BEING IN YOUR ROLE NECESSITATE?

Understanding what the viewer wants to see and hear, explaining a story in a way that people can understand, writing, editing, being sociable, able to multi-task under pressure (if in a live news studio), having an eye for detail, being on time, triple checking all the facts, genuinely interested in the world we live in.

ANY FINAL COMMENTS?

Through my profession I have met and interviewed so many inspiring and powerful women. Though there is still a long way to go when it comes to equality in business, it's fantastic to see how quickly things are changing and improving. I hope that by the time my daughters are all grown up things like the pay gap will be a ridiculous thing of the past, the same way that we sneer at the fact that women couldn't vote before. This is just the beginning and I am excited for what the future has in store.

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