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22 June 2010

Fiona Julian - Media

Fiona Julian - Media

Fiona Julian is a freelance communications consultant with a portfolio ranging from company PR to consultancy in the voluntary sector. Fiona worked in publishing as a freelance artist, and has worked in media for 15 years. At Hope FM Fiona is "Jill of all trades"- presenter, host, researcher, technician and producer of her own show. A self-op without a safety net.

Fiona loves to see people reaching their potential. "People who are living the dream are an inspiration and I hope that I'm on the way to being one of those people".


As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

I really don't remember. I wanted to drive and was counting down from about aged seven: ten more years to go! My Dad was a teacher, so people suggested that I would become a teacher.
But I fancied hosting Eurovision and entering it too after hearing Cliff Richard's 'Power to all our friends'. It seemed to strike a chord with me: "To the people we want to be. Baby, power to you and me."

How did you get involved in the media?

I've always loved language and arts, but didn't go to university; the art college said 'do graphics' when I wanted to 'do film'. I'd been working as a freelance artist and felt drawn to media. A friend was temping for a PR agency, she couldn't complete the work and I picked up the baton of proof checking a technical manual. Some time later the agency called asking if I'd fill in as a member of staff was sick. I did and stayed for almost ten years. Media is a palette to create pictures, so I paint with sound in community radio and written words in my PR work.

What is the best and worst thing about being a journalist?

My grounding has been in high-tech and electronics PR: anything from smartcards to motors - all very factual. No spin. My bosses instilled an ethic of delivering real, reliable information. This has led me to hate spin. So, when I say I work in PR I underline, 'no puff and no fluff'.
But, promoting widgets was never my ideal. My bosses invested in media training for me and my tutor took one look at my writing and said, "People, you need to write about people."

What inspires you in your work?

People! I love to help people share their stories. If folk are unfamiliar with the media, they can think it's an unattainable platform. They don't realise their own potential. I was always a fan of the sitcom Frasier. On my radio show I gently lead people through their stories and this often reawakens in them the reason why they do what they do. It's a privilege to put a spotlight on the spark of passion within someone. I feel it's an acknowledgement of what God has placed in their hearts, whether the person has a faith or not.

Best interview of the decade is...

I'm not normally star-struck, but I had to really go into professional mode when interviewing 80s pop star Morten Harket or I would have had a girly moment. Paul Young, author of The Shack, was great too. He was so open to discuss the story behind his novel, which touched on his own experience of suffering abuse as a child. I actually like doing heavier interviews, because it airs things that are often not being spoken about openly, especially in church settings.

Martin Luther King Jr had a dream for society. What is yours?

I would like to see a society (and church) where everyone has a voice; where people are listened to, not for their status, job description, title or credentials, but because they are part of life, and I believe important to God, who has created each of us for a reason. I think that we can learn something from everyone, even when we don't agree or don't like them.

What is the main hindrance to living the dream?

FEAR. False Evidence Appearing Real. I regret decisions that I have made based on fear, a sneaky thing that can disguise itself as some seemingly legitimate reason.

What would you do with a million quid?

Working in the voluntary sector I know that sustainability is key, so I would set a financial footing in my home and business to keep the cash flow healthy. Then I could get on with some social enterprise to get other folks up and running. The arts are always desperate for cash and we all have creativity that goes untapped through lack of time, funding or opportunity. It would be lovely to start an arts centre where artists could work, sell and interact. It would need to involve a coffee shop too. And, when the model is a success I'll roll it out across the country!

How can the media increase wellbeing in society?

Information needs to be shared. The media is a vehicle to make sure that voices are heard and issues are discussed. If I get to write that movie blockbuster then, like Jesus' parables, I would like it to entertain, inspire and still have the ability to touch on deep questions. Media can be the vehicle to do all those things.

Jesus was a story teller. What do we learn from him?

The key to Jesus and all great storytellers is that they 'get it'. They understand and portray the deep in clear, everyday terms. Brilliant.
The Hebrew culture has a great oral history and I think this is why Hollywood has so many great Jewish filmmakers. I'm currently applying for an MA in writing for media, which is mainly about scriptwriting and storytelling. I feel that I've got a film in me. But haven't we all?