In conversation with Tanveer Mann

In conversation with...
Tanveer mann, DEPUTY NEWS EDITOR AT THE MIRROR online

Tanveer Mann, Deputy News Editor at the Mirror Online talked to Amber Sunner about her work in journalism and how she has adapted her schedule to the lockdown.

What was your typical working day before lockdown?

As a news editor, I work shifts and rotate with my colleagues to do day shifts and overnights (11pm – 7am). When needed, I also work late shifts, which are 3-11pm. 

Before lockdown, my typical day would involve trekking an hour and 15mins to Canary Wharf from south west London first! 

Once in, we would normally do a scout around the regionals and other nationals as well as foreign sites. Around 8.30am, one of us (the news editors) would host the morning conference with reporters, where they pitch a couple of stories. 

The rest of the day involves being assigned reporters and managing our news lists – pushing through stories and keeping an eye/covering any big news events for that day (including trials). 

How has your working day changed since the UK went into lockdown?

I’ve now been working from home for five weeks and though it took a little bit of getting used to, I am really enjoying it and finding I’m a lot more productive. My job has essentially remained the same – we’re just having more video conferences now!

Has the volume of your work fluctuated since lockdown, and if so how has it fluctuated?

Working as a journalist during the current crisis, I feel our jobs are needed now more than ever as people are desperate for trustworthy and up-to-date information.

I’m really grateful that I have been able to continue working – somewhat – as normal from home, as many others haven’t been as fortunate. 

But at the same time, I definitely think my workload has increased dramatically as well as my working hours too. Where you would normally have a chat with colleagues, have a tea/coffee break, and go for fresh air on your lunch break, you can often forget to do that at home. Sometimes I’m sat at my desk for hours without having stood up! 

It’s really important to take breaks, for physical and mental wellbeing, but it’s hard to do that when you’re at home and have numerous people asking you questions/needing decisions. 

How are you finding managing a team remotely?

It’s interesting – communication is key, especially as we deal with breaking news that needs to be up fast. We now have to tell reporters to let us know if they’re getting up for a break whereas in the office, we’d be able to see whether they’re at their desk or not. 

Overall though, I feel it is working well. 

How do you look after your wellbeing given all of the negative news at the moment?

I try to avoid watching the news/going on Twitter when my shift is over, only limiting myself to a quick catchup on my phone before I go to bed.

Thankfully, I live with my family so I have a distraction and can switch off from the coronavirus news when work finishes. 

Do you think you’ll make changes to how you work after the lockdown is lifted?

If it was possible, I would love to be able to work some days from home and some in the office however given the nature of journalism I doubt that would be possible. 

In terms of work patterns, I think this lockdown has taught everyone how important it is to take care of yourself. You often forget how important breaks are when working in journalism so I will definitely prioritise those. 

What made you want to choose journalism as a career path and how did you get into it to start with?

I initially wanted to do Broadcast Journalism so I joined my university’s radio station and paper. While on holiday in Washington DC, a family friend who worked at Al Jazeera invited me to visit her office and I fell in love with the fast-paced atmosphere and knew that was what I wanted to do.

I managed to secure work experience at BBC Asian Network and the Daily Mail and then secured a full-time job at Asian Voice as a news reporter for a year after university. 

Following this, I quickly realised that to get to the nationals, I needed a qualification so I decided to do a Masters at City University in Newspaper Journalism, which helped massively in getting my foot in the door.

I was really pleased to have got on to the rather competitive MailOnline graduate scheme straight after that and then moved over to Metro for three years before joining Mirror Online last May as an Assistant News Editor. 

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This blog is part of PressPad Remote, a programme of activities to support aspiring journalists during the pandemic. You can join PressPad’s Nicola Slawson for a free virtual masterclass on how to network online and offline on Tuesday 5 May at 7pm. Sign up here.