Cary Johnston

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I began my journalism career on The Voice newspaper, a campaigning British tabloid, giving a true voice to the Afro-Caribbean community, at a time when no one else would. I was fortunate enough to be mentored by the then assistant editor there, a man called Joseph Harker. He showed me how to translate the stories which were bursting forth from my head, into intelligible copy which people would want to read. It was a pioneering time for the community, which laid the foundations for the emergence of a whole generation of journalists of colour, into the more mainstream media. I remember having to use physical typewriters and paper to write my copy – the cacophony in the newsroom was immense as the huge metal keyboards clattered in unison. This was the age before the internet, while mobile phones were still huge unwieldy brick-like things, with massive aerials. How times have changed!

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I spent many years as a roving reporter for BBC local radio. It was a great grounding, and truly hard work, but an experience that would prepare me well for what was to come. In those days, to make a report, you had to edit physical bits of tape, by cutting them up and sticking them back together again using razor blades. Can you believe it? Today's digital age makes those techniques look prehistoric, yet it conditioned you to get things right the first time round. Radio is an underrated medium, which has survived the times, despite the existence of other more eye-catching media. The power of sound, mixed with the human imagination, is something that will never become outdated. Using the internet, I regularly listen to stations across the world – deliberately tuning in to something I haven't heard before. Isn't that so much more refreshing then simply being “recommended” something by a computer algorithm?

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After a stint at ITV regional news, I landed a job at the famous BBC Television Centre in London, as a reporter on their Breakfast News programme. At the time, I thought it would be the culmination of my career. All the big players were there from news to entertainment. Exciting and bewildering all at once. A media complex so huge, it's easy to get swallowed up and disappear without a trace. I made my mark, but then decided to spread my wings even further. Eventually, it was foreign travel that whetted my appetite when it came to discovering the world and learning about other cultures. And so it was to the real icing on the cake - Russia Today TV. Whatever you think of its credentials as a broadcaster, it's a phenomenon that cannot be ignored, and I was presenting news on an international stage, whilst living in Moscow. And what could be better than that? Except of course, the chance to now tell you all about it!


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