On October 29, INMA and Google News Initiative (GNI) awarded 50 news media professionals around the world with its debut Elevate Scholarship. This series features these impressive media professionals who are shaping our industry.
As a student, Naaman Brown delved into media and cultural studies, looking to understand how those two elements affected history, economics, societal changes, and politics. Now, as events executive for Guardian News and Media, he brings that interest and understanding to the consumer and commercial events that he produces.
“The media finds itself at a pivotal point where identity politics could have a detrimental effect on the work we produce,” Brown said. “My hope is that I can utilise my theoretical understanding of how media and culture interact to create events where these topics can be explored in an open and honest controlled environment.”
Already, Brown has started working toward that goal by leading The Guardian’s Diversity and Inclusion Forum for Race and Religion, where he consults on in-house initiatives to improve the experiences of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and multi-faith staff members at the company.
He has worked directly with the executive board to put on more than 20 internal and external events revolving around these diversity initiatives. He also played a role in implementing The Guardian’s first Ethnicity Pay Gap Report and creating an internship program for candidates from BAME and lower socio-economic backgrounds.
“So far, in collaboration with the wider D&I forum, I have produced workshops with Stonewall on Trans awareness, put on talks at Black Gay Pride with Guardian contributors, and hosted a series of events around the Black British experience.”
Looking to the future, Brown said he would like to move into a senior management position, which would allow him to implement change on both an institutional and industry-wide level.
“Ideally, I would like to stay within the media events industry, but I am also interested in acquisition marketing, as these departments work on building relationships with readers and external partners, which are key to the lifeblood of any news organisation.”
As an Elevate Scholarship recipient, Brown is looking forward to networking and building strong professional relationships. He also wants to use this opportunity to learn how to engage more effectively with readers in the new digital frontier.
“The Guardian events team has recently transformed into a digital-first, reader-revenue business, so understanding how I can support this change within my role would be beneficial,” he said.