WHAT WE DO

Birkdale Media provides one-on-one coaching and mentoring for students and professionals in:-

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Planning and delivering work presentations

Writing and delivering speeches

Journalism skills

TV and Radio Broadcast skills

Communication/PR skills

We also offer customized packages to meet your needs or your organization's needs. We start with a free consultation to assess your specific training requirements and then tailor our work for your desired outcomes. We have helped non-profit professionals, media spokespeople, career-change professionals, students and student journalists.

 

MARK MCDONALD, CEO

After more than thirty years in cross-platform journalism around the world, I am passionate about helping people fulfill their full potential when appearing in public forums or in media. I also help talented people learn the skills they need to survive and flourish in the communications industry.

Areas of expertise: news coverage of global politics, U.S. Presidential elections, battlefield conflict, diplomacy, the United Nations and its agencies, as well as natural and human tragedies.  Extensive experience in news staff development, training and mentoring, legal and contractual negotiations, internal and external communications, crisis management, and innovative programming.   McDonald is a media and public affairs executive and coach with more than 30 years of experience developing, operating and supervising innovative cross-platform global news and public affairs content. McDonald has produced innovative high-quality content that seizes the opportunities of the digital age, both in reaching wider, more diverse audiences and in tapping the new marketing and funding opportunities it provides. 

Under McDonald’s leadership, WAMU’s News and Programming rose from 14th to 1st place in Washington Metro Arbitron ratings and WAMU is now among the major market public radio stations in nationwide ratings. The station has also expanded into multiple dedicated digital streams, streaming apps, and three specialized HD Radio Channels.

McDonald plays a leading role in talent development, and creating and expanding collaborative work nationally with the CPB, NPR, NBC, and American Public Media. 

A recipient of the Edward R. Murrow and DuPont Columbia awards for Broadcast Journalism, McDonald  managed an expansion of the news operation within the BBC’s New York bureau, creating three groundbreaking programs for both digital distribution and the BBC’s (then new) World TV Channel. 

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Since 2001 he's continued to serve as a Professor of Journalism at American University, and has lectured at Georgetown University, Columbia University, and Howard University. 

testimonials

"Working with Mark has been absolutely wonderful. I am a conflict zone photojournalist and always have felt way more comfortable behind the camera than in front of one. I was preparing for a big speaking engagement that I felt unprepared for. Sitting down with Mark we went over my presentation, he helped me craft the speech and had very useful suggestions on the format. Normally I would be very apprehensive about even practicing a speech but Mark made it all such a positive experience.

After doing several practice runs, and reviewing them on video I was able to go in feeling very comfortable and confident.  Mark was great to work with, and was genuinely invested in making sure I felt good about the speaking engagement.  I highly recommend working with him to all my colleagues and I look forward to working with him again in the future and feel the skills he taught me will serve me immensely for years to come!"

Neil Brandvold, International Photo Journalist


"Mark hears and sees things others don't. He can listen to "green" talent, and diagnose a pathway to becoming a more effective communicator. With such a deep well of experience-- in tv, radio, web-- he's an ideal teacher and collaborator."

Brendan Sweeney, Managing Producer, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, WAMU FM

In  Mark McDonald two deep springs of enthusiasm and wisdom combine to create a mighty stream of inspiration and experience.  Mark continues to be an individual of strikingly sound editorial judgement, strong leadership skills and an unerring ability to spot new trends in media and journalism and to communicate them to others. He is the kind of larger than life colleague and teacher, you don’t forget.”

Rob Watson, Political Correspondent,  BBC World Service Radio and BBC World TV


"Mark is among the best journalists  in the business. If he's your teacher you are in the right place for success. He has a knack for making reporting easy to learn ! Mark knows the news from the ground up. He teaches real world success tips and tactics for eager students."

Meymo Lyons, Managing Editor, News, WAMU FM


"In every instance, Mark he has been the consumate professional. He knows his business, does it well, makes it look easy, and is a joy to work with too."

David Shapinsky, Deputy Director, Communications at Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine, U.S. Food and Drug Administration


"Mark is an excellent communicator, one with innovative ideas and a commitment to excellence. "

Anthony V. Hayes, Director of Corporate Marketing, WAMU FM


"Mark helped me prepare for the Libyan Challenge, a 125-mile foot race through the Sahara desert in Libya. Though I’ve worked as a print journalist for years, I wanted to expand my career in radio, broadcast, and film. I saw the story in Libya as the ideal opportunity to do so. Mark’s diligence and patience was tremendous. He not only taught me the fundamentals of shooting but also showed me how to talk in front of the camera and perform on the radio. His mentorship has improved my multi-media skills and career opportunities. I produced my first video for Al Jazeera Sports World and have appeared on National Geographic Weekend Radio. I attribute this success to the skills Mark helped me hone and the confidence I gained working with him. He supported me every step of the way. I highly recommend his service for anyone interested in expanding their horizons in the media field."

Rebecca Byerly, Multi-Media International Journalist with National Geographic, Al Jazeera