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07 January 2010

Veron Graham - Media

Veron Graham - Media

Veron Graham is a press officer at The Salvation Army. Prior to this, he has worked as a researcher, producer and reporter on BBC TV/radio, a reporter and columnist on a variety of publications including The Birmingham Mail, The Voice, Boxing News, Press Gazette and (the dear departed!) Christian Herald.

He is also part of the family-run media/ PR business, The Grahamedia Agency.

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

A footballer, cartoon animator, a naturalist (someone who films animals not those who run around without clothes on - folk do get confused/ concerned when I tell them that), a car mechanic and a professional boxer.

How did you get involved in media?

It really started when I was 9 years old and failed to make the cut for the school football team. The coach was also my form tutor who knew I loved writing and so encouraged me to watch the match and write a report. I reluctantly agreed not knowing I would be called up to read the report in front of the whole school during the following morning's assembly - and get a standing ovation!
I considered other careers after that but eventually found my way back to journalism at 19.

Who has been the biggest influence in your work?

Jesus - my faith has steered me away from negative/ exploitative media.
My wife - an encouragement since the day we met.
Judy Simpson - the former heptathlete/ radio presenter who commissioned me to produce a series for her BBC programme in 2001 and turned me onto broadcasting.

What is the big issue you are facing in media?

The 'tabloidisation' of the local/ regional press - once-humble evening papers and local radio stations now seek negativity.

Who would you least be likely to share a taxi with?

Anyone who talks too much and listens too little.

What Christian story or biblical text motivates you in your work?

The Apostle Paul - writing in Philippians 3:13 that he is 'forgetting what is behind him and pressing on towards the mark.' I too have a lot of 'stuff' to forget about, and now to write about, to bring glory to God.

What one piece of advice would you give someone starting out in media?

Be persistent.

Tell us one of your most hilarious faux pas...

When realising that the reason the massive prehistoric PC we had in our classroom kept crashing had something to do with the reset button I kept pressing with my foot! Sadly I couldn't share my mirth/ mischief with the class!

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

For society to get back to the place where mutual respect and courtesy is the norm not the exception.

What is the main hindrance to living the dream?

The 'crabs in a basket' mentality in which others will climb over other peoples' backs to get ahead ... and think that it's OK.

What is your most and least green credential?

Most: I tirelessly recycle everything that I can.
Least: I don't give two hoots about my so-called carbon footprint.

What is the best thing about working in media?

Having the privilege to share news about people of faith that folk might otherwise never hear about.

Who would you put in a celebrity Big Brother house?

I can't stand the show but it would be Mr T - the first to show me it's OK to be a strong man, believe in God and love your mamma!

What's the worst rejection you've ever had?

There's been a few but they hurt most when based on race.

What would you like to be remembered for?

As a man who always tried to understand others and help where he could.

Who would you invite to your desert island?

My wife - who else?! (Besides she's going to proof read this before it goes online, so ....!)

I didn't get where I am today without...

...learning the importance of finding something positive in every situation I've found myself in.

What is your most treasured possession?

My wife. I know she's not a 'possession' but you know what I mean.

What has been your biggest disappointment?

Not being able to fully pursue becoming a footballer - football was one of the activities that were hit by schoolteachers taking industrial action in 1984.

When are you the happiest?

Chilling out with the family at home, diving into a good book or in front of a decent TV show with a cup of tea.

What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?

Not becoming the 'statistic' as expected (and sometimes communicated to me) by teachers and 'friends'.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Trust God. There's really no need to get into a flap about anything. We don't know the future but we know a man who does, so to speak.