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When Jas met Jon

BRINGING THE NEWS: Jon Snow and Jasmine

I RECENTLY took my London 360 news reporting team to meet Channel 4 news legend Jon Snow. Jon invited us up to his ITN building, where he sat and regaled us with his witty, sharp and very warm personality.

He told the team about his progression throughout the years and at midday, he took us all into the Channel 4 news gallery where a live bulletin was broadcast in front of the team.

Jon had me fascinated as he revealed how he got into the media. ’’I joined LBC on the day they started,” he said. “The great thing was all these commercial radio stations were new; there was no commercial radio until the last quarter of the last century. It’s pretty amazing.

LBC went bust about six months after I got there, and they got rid of all the people that were expensive, and kept the very very cheap people. I was very cheap, so that’s how I started.”

Jon’s story demonstrates that if you offer to work cheaply in your early career, the rewards and experience you can go on to earn will make up for your free labour.

He added that it was his competitive nature that gave him his next big break.

“After about three years, I got a break. The IRA were in London and I was on a bike and I had a Motorola. It was pre-mobile phones, but I had a Motorola walkie- talkie and as long as you were within two miles of the ITV Southbank television tower, which had a transponder on the top of it, you could broadcast. But you had to have reasonable line of sight – that was difficult.

“But sometimes I would broadcast live from my bike as I was cycling towards the bomb. Nobody even knew where it was – you would only see the smoke, hear the bang and then you’d cycle to get to it. By the time I got there, the traffic would be backed up I’d see my colleagues from the Daily Express, the BBC and The Telegraph in the backs of taxis sitting in queues while I was racing past them. So I often used to be the only person there and then ITN called me up one day and said we’ve got a job for you if you want to come – which doesn’t happen very often. So I’ve been here ever since – which is a very, very long time.”

When talking about what makes a great journalist, Jon explained: “I myself believe that the best journalists are the journalists who at least have learned how to enquire, how to research, and who are fired up by the unknown and fired up by wickedness. What frustrates the development of our society is corruption, mismanagement and bad politics.”

On this point, I wanted to kiss Jon’s feet. What an inspiration and a straight talker.

MUCH TO DISCUSS

NEXT, I was happy to catch up with my west London home girl Estelle, who was in town to talk about her new album All Of Me.

We chatted about all sorts, including the difficulty to find blood donors in the black and ethnic minority communities. “I think the cultural barriers in ethnic minorities when it comes to bone marrow donation is based on slight ignorance,” Estelle said. “I think people don’t quite get that it’s not about a big old needle going in your arm. It’s about as simple as a swab and it can save somebody’s life.

I also told her my frustrations about young men in London killing each other over minor issues. She was equally frustrated. “Every time I’m home [in London], the main thing I keep hearing is ‘somebody got stabbed’ or ‘I can’t go to that area.’

“When I keep hearing that kind of stuff it frustrates the hell out of me because I know how I came up doing music.
“[Back then] you could just be a regular kid. I hate the fact that my cousins and my little brothers are like ‘we don’t go there.’ We need to end that right now, it’s ridiculous’’.

Later that night, Estelle wowed the crowd at the Forum in London, where she performed alongside Rick Ross, who she collaborates with on her single Break My Heart.

She dazzled the audience with her onstage presence and repped well for team UK.

GOT IT NAILED

AS I was once told by Kim Luck, one of my first bosses at MTV, you must always keep your “image and style” at its top level, no matter what.

When I used to present MTV News, Kim would waltz in every morning with her real minx coat flung over her shoulder and demand to see all of us presenters to ensure that our make up, hair and nails were ship shape.

With her rules instilled in me, this week, whilst working late, I had celebrity manicurist Ama Quashie (right) who has done nails for Alexandra Burke, Alesha Dixon and Amber Rose to name a few, drive 10 miles across London to work her magic on my nails, whilst I sat at my desk.

Ama gave me my first Gelish manicure; a new hybrid gel line that stays chip free for 21 days without damaging the natural nail at all! It’s perfect for ladies who like preened natural nails, but haven't got the time to visit a nail bar every week.

This week as I shoot footage, edit, wash up endlessly, tweet, text and BlackBerry message, I’ll be able to test just how resistant these nails really are!

* Jasmine Dotiwala is a TV producer, director and broadcast journalist. Email her at jasmine@hiphop.com

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