As part of Business News Wales’ Women in Business series, Tanya Lynch has interviewed, events and media freelancer, Bethen Elfyn. Bethan gives an insight into her media career, her inspirations and her love of working in wales.
Please introduce yourself to Business News Wales’ readers.
I’m Bethan Elfyn, I work for the BBC and freelance in the world of events and media.
What is your role within the media industry?
I started off as a programme researcher, working for news, politics and light entertainment – that was great background to the industry, as I’ve slowly worked in production around the radio and tv world (BBC Radio One, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC 4, and BBC Radio 4) and at the moment my specialist knowledge in music means there’s a natural role for me within events.
Why did you decide to work in the media?
It happened quite naturally, my interest in music is at the root of it all, but I also studied journalism at Cardiff University, the post graduate diploma, after writing for the student paper.
How has the media industry changed over the past decade?
The technology has changed everything; everything is immediate, contact and reach is easier, and the most unlikely stories have traction. The only problem is that our attention span has also moved to quick fix and serious news is becoming more and more click bait.
What challenges have you over come as a woman working within the media industry?
There are practical issues like working late/long hours, and travelling alone, but also the culture of intimidation and mansplaining. Quite often its subconscious even in the most well meaning environments.
What has been the most exciting time in your career to date?
I’m always excited by what I do but I guess the Radio One years were fantastic and bonkers – from hanging out in the pub with Moyles and gang, to meeting Tony Blair at one of the photoshoots. There was always a great respect and friendliness between the DJs, and meeting Annie Nightingale, Jo Whiley, Edith Bowman, Annie Mac, Mary Anne Hobbs, and many other radio heroes of mine was a thrill.
What advice would you give anyone wishing to start their career in the media?
The best advice I was given was ‘be yourself’ – this is true, but you also need to get out there, do as much volunteering at events as possible to meet people who can use your talents – networking, is always essential, however long you’ve been in the job. Its just meeting new people that can make your work more interesting!
How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
It’s the opposite problem, how do I switch off – motivation is never a problem – I can’t stop ideas flowing and wanting to do more and new things all the time.
How do manage a work/life balance?
Its hard – two young children are a delight, but demanding day and night, so there’s a lot of juggling and wonderful family and friends!
What exciting projects are you involved in this year?
I’m back at the BBC working on Horizons ( a music project from BBC Wales and Arts Council Wales) plus lots of events around Penarth, I’ve curated the line up for the Carnival on July 14, then look out for a wonderful charity group called We Make Good Happen Penarth, we put on lots of fun nights for different causes. Thats just for starters!
Who is your inspiration in the media industry?
Any ambitious woman with a family – its good to see you there around the boardroom.
What do you like most about working in Wales?
We live in the most beautiful country in the world – it really is magical – and I wish I could organise events everywhere from the top of the mountains to the coast, its stunning.
What’s one of the biggest advances in your industry over the past five years?
Social media – being able to communicate quickly and getting the information across to so many people – that and the internet… when I started as a radio researcher I was looking people up in the phone book.
If you didn’t work within the media what would be your chosen career or business?
I’d love to run a clamping campsite, but I’m not very handy with practical things, so its best I do what I do.