Anti Slavery Day | A Q&A with Presenter and Journalist Louise Hulland
Last month we were lucky enough to have the chance to chat with presenter and award winning journalist, Louise Hulland. As we sat and talked over a cup of coffee, Louise told us about her career in TV and radio, working on some of the biggest stories of the last decade, covering human trafficking, modern slavery, girls in gangs and unlicensed cabs. For anti-slavery day, we got back in touch with Louise to help shine a light on this huge issue.
Hi Louise, so we remember you telling us that you started out your career in Radio, what was the transition into TV like for you?
I moved from being an entertainment report for a news agency to freelancing as a news producer and reporter at ITN, and I remember being utterly terrified but so excited. The main difference was learning to write to picture. In radio, as a journalist or presenter, you have to paint pictures for the audience with your words and voice. In TV the audience can see what you’re seeing, so the writing technique is slightly different. I also had to try and stop speaking with my hands so much, but that was a battle I lost years ago! There’s also a lot more faffing in TV. If I’m interviewing someone for a radio doc, I turn up with my phone and a microphone and we just start. There’s so much set up in telly, and you have to do things several times from different angles which took time to get used to.
What's your favourite part of your job?
The people I get to meet, without question. With my producers hat on, I’ve worked with some incredible presenters like Sir Terry Wogan. As a showbiz reporter I interviewed the likes of Kylie, Michael Douglas, Julie Andrews, Tom Cruise etc. BUT most importantly I get to tell the stories of so many people who aren’t given a voice - like survivors of human trafficking, young people with HIV, girls who have exited gangs, and survivors of sexual violence.
Today is Anti-Slavery Day, could you tell us a bit about the work you’ve done in tackling modern slavery?
This autumn I published a book called Stolen Lives, exploring human trafficking and modern slavery in the UK. From interviews with the police and front-line workers to following the stories of survivors, it’s been a huge passion project and I worked with the most supportive publishers. The reviews from the media, and readers, have been incredible and it’s been a hugely fulfilling project.
It’s estimated 136,000 people are trapped in Modern Slavery in the UK, which is an appalling and terrifying statistic. I started becoming involved in this area in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics when I was investigating if there was a link between sporting events and trafficking. Sine then I’ve worked with some incredible people who are on the front line in the fight against ending slavery. I pitched and fronted a report for The One Show on how to spot the signs of slavery, I’ve written for the Independent, and currently working on a book proposal exposing the scale of the issue in Britain. Plus I’ve hosted some Round Table events with stakeholders, and this week I’m hosting an "In Conversation” with Kevin Hyland OBE - the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. In my personal life I also help a survivor of trafficking in any way I can.
What are some of the other important issues you’ve worked on in the past?
I won a Gold Sony Radio Academy Award for my first documentary, a report for Radio 1 on the rise of young people in the UK contracting HIV and I’ve remained hugely interested in that area. Plus, I’ve done 2 investigations into sexual assaults in minicabs, and the lack of consistency regarding checks on drivers. I’ve also done a variety of reports for Watchdog on the chemical MI found in beauty products, and a range of other household products, which has caused massive allergic reactions in many.
You have a wealth of experience as a journalist and presenter. What excites you about speaking at live events?
I hate to say it but I think I’m just nosey!! I love meeting people, finding out about the issues closest to their hearts and learn about other sectors and professions. It’s absolutely brilliant to be invited to take part in events which mean so much to the people who are hosting it - it’s quite a privilege.
What’s next for you?
The last 12 months have been all focused on the book, and I started a new weekend radio show for the BBC back in January. After taking on more shows during lockdown, I’ve now launched a Friday breakfast show as well. So now that’s underway, and the book is out, I’m hoping to have a quiet end to 2020 and take care of myself a bit before starting 2021 with hopefully a positive outlook and thinking about TV projects again.
Sounds exciting Louise, can't wait to see what's to come!
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