Note: This interview was published by The Region Initiative (TRI) as a part of its series of interviews with “Icons of Travel Media”. Eurasian News is reproducing this interview with the permission of TRI has this interview has been read by over 10,000 persons during the last 3 years.
By Agha Iqrar Haroon
Producer of TV series such as Passport to Adventure and Timeless Places and other shows and specials, Bea has developed a keen interest in associations she has become familiar with through her international research and filming projects.
Organizations such as IIPT (The International Institute of Peace through Tourism) are dear to her heart, and Bea chooses to focus on the most positive aspects of the lifestyle, culture and traditions of the countries she travels to and films. Bea is also the Past President of SATW. (The Society of American Travel Writers.)
These are qualities that only the best and most committed professionals in the field of television journalism possess, and of course Bea is an example for many to follow; how a person can so hard working with a smiling face! Being a producer myself, I know the heart beat increases when you are shooting and its a constant physical and mental pressure due to the fear of missing any important frame, situations that usually makes a producer serious and erratic. However, Bea is otherwise. The more she works–the more her face is glowing and a bigger and bigger smile appears on her face.
I found Bea to be a very special and spiritual woman who believes in equality, justices and interfaith interaction for building a better future for generations to come.
Interview with Bea Broda
Q: What threats are being faced by serious and professional media houses in the flood of Social media?
The Communications Industry has seen some paradigm shifts in the fairly recent past, and the ways of reaching people through news and stories has evolved. In the not too distant past, there was only a handful of huge TV broadcasters responsible to report the news in the world, and also a small group of media conglomerates handling the printed versions. With the massive onset of Internet use on a worldwide scale, many people are seeking to find their information through websites, blogs, social media and youtube videos. The positive side of this is, of course, that everyone can express their views and potentially have an audience. The negative side is that much of it can be poorly written or produced, or not be backed up in truth and integrity. It is then difficult for a viewer to determine the absolute validity of a story, whether written or broadcast. I’m a believer that “the cream rises to the top,” so I feel that the legitimate publications will treat their websites etc. with integrity and find some success in numbers. I do feel that it is a positive and world-uniting process, and a wonderful way for people to discover more about what’s happening all over the world.
Q: Travel and Tourism media house is easy to sustain or sustainability is becoming a question?
The world economy is in a tailspin, and every industry is needing to take necessary survival steps. I have always felt that the old infrastructure that once long-served the newspaper industry well could not be sustained through the current technological advancements. A new way of doing business has been necessary, and with every “golden handshake” or huge change within hard copy publishing companies, funds are being released to invest in the areas that truly require it in the current model of web delivery. Unfortunately, when the web began as a mass communications platform, it was expected that the content would be delivered for free, because there was no budget left after paying large sums on contract to positions that upheld the dying parts of the industry. Although budget is now released, there is still the expectation for free content, coupled with the fact that the economy is suffering in all sectors. In my own association with journalists, I can report that this situation is improving, and quality producers are finding budgets to work with despite the vast onset of free information available through internet delivery.
Q: Why did you opt a difficult path of travel and tourism news promotion while people like to listen and read about politics, disasters etc. Guns are not easy to sell than roses?
I have never really been interested in doing or reporting the news. I have travelled to areas that the media has been telling people to avoid, and have felt perfectly safe there. I know that a lot of the news is designed to accentuate the negative, and that has never been my preference. For me, travel news production has never been a difficult road. The audience will be smaller, perhaps, but my mission is to show my audience the beauty of another area, and to let them see for themselves how very much we all have in common at the heart of it all.
Q: I believe you love to eat good food. Tell us what colours you like and what food you love to eat?
I love bright colours like orange and yellow! The bright ones are that make me feel joyful!
For over 7 years, I have been a vegetarian, but have lifted it somewhat lately to accommodate the occasional fish or shrimp dish. Anyone that knows me will tell you I could live on broccoli alone, and I usually travel with fat-free cheese slices, because I am always trying to keep my weight down! I love fruits and vegetables and eat tons of them, and use egg white omelettes as a primary protein source. The only exception is that if a food has onions in it anywhere, you won’t get me near it! Onions to me are like kryptonite to Superman!
Any message you wish to send to media and stakeholders of travel and tourism?
This is an industry that most participants rarely plan to enter! Life and our life choices will bring us here, like destiny herself. So those in the travel industry in any form are people that are flexible and able to evolve and grow. The state of the world and economy are such that this industry seems perpetually in a state of “crisis management” mode! I think every tourist board knows they could have a fire, a flood, a volcano, a bit of bad press, a tsunami – or something that could put their stable tourism statistics on the edge of a pin. In the media, we know that it’s essential to stay on top of emerging communications technology if we are to continue and thrive in our industry. So that would be my advice: keep learning how use the current programs being utilized for video, photo and word processing. Be familiar with use the social media avenues, realizing that the upcoming generation is really only looking at life through those lenses! I believe in responsible reporting. I sat beside the Minister of Tourism for Namibia at a Peace conference in Holland several ears ago, and she told me that the news media blew up a story of a knifing that happened there. A knifing can and does happen every day in cities, but the way this story was handled resulted in it taking two years to get back the tourism lost by the sensationalism of the story. I was horrified by this and made an even firmer commitment to reporting responsibly.
What are your targets of life? how much you are satisfied with your work and general situation in tourism industry?
That target is a moving target! (smile).
What I mean by saying that is that I might have originally started off wanting simply to make a TV show, for example, but then discovered other avenues during my travels that opened up new areas of interest. There is a huge spiritual side to me, and in fact I am an ordained Reverend within a religion that embraces, celebrates and honours the religious pedigree of everyone that comes through the doors. When I combine my spiritual interests with my love of travel and discovering about the rest of the world, I have seem the resulting amalgam that spawned an interest in the activities of organizations such as IIPT (Peace through Tourism) that seek to improve the world, one encounter at a time. I have learned so much through all of the people I have met everywhere, and find my own revelation, reflections and happiness in that. I wish to continue to create communications through writing and TV and web broadcast that reveal the lovely souls of people that share our planet. If I can do anything to improve things for those that have found themselves in unfortunate conditions, then that’s wonderful too.
If I offered you a one month vacation, where would you wish to spend it? (destination etc) and why?
That’s a tough one! There are so many places I still want to see! Also, sometimes, when I haven’t been 100% keen on a place to which have been sent for one reason or another, I find things there that make me love it and want to return! If we are talking VACATION, which means I wouldn’t be working, I would choose a place with a combination of gorgeous beaches and fascinating historical sites fairly nearby. Left on my wish list to visit are: Seychelles, parts of Africa, Tahiti, Uzbekistan (and other “stans,”) and Siberia.
You can contact Bea Broda on following addresses: