Salford Training Day 2015

Following my internship with Podium.me last year, I landed my dream job in radio. The only downside of the dream job is that it’s located in a small semi-underground, cave-like studio with no windows. So, when I got the opportunity to get out for the day, all the way up to Manchester for Podium.me’s furthest-ever-from-home training day at BBC North, Media City UK, naturally I jumped at it.

Coming back into Podium.me, I see how hugely it continues to grow since I finished interning last summer: there are 100 more journalists from around the country, original radio drama is high on the agenda, and the very top names in radio and broadcast journalism are still coming to impart their wisdom to our innovative young generation of journalists at training days.

The day started, for example, with Controller of Radio 5 Live Jonathan Wall explaining to us the challenges of running a national network with 70 per cent news output.

Radio 5 Live’s Head of News Steve Mawhinney followed him to the stage, pointing out that in the social media age, journalists no longer feel the same sense of ownership over the news; the news belongs to us all, and is a more exciting landscape for it. As he put it: “news is what connects us – as a community, as a world.”

We’ve never run live pitching sessions in a Podium.me training day before, but former Commissioning Editor at Radio 4 Caroline Raphael encouraged Podium.me journalists to come up on stage and show her their ideas for radio documentaries, comedies and dramas. I was impressed by not only the ideas Podium.me journalists have been brewing in their incredible brains, but by the long queue of people brave enough to share and develop those ideas. If we can continue to be so tenacious, the BBC will be overrun with Podium.me journalists’ programmes before long.

Amy Voce, half of Gem 106’s award-winning breakfast duo Sam and Amy, explained how important it is for us to develop a personal brand that is true to ourselves: and, importantly, that we should never tweet anything we wouldn’t want our mums to see.

For me, a highlight was running a workshop in the afternoon with students from Oldham. Although they were new to what Podium.me does, they brainstormed the mission statement of Podium.me’s music channel with passion and huge creativity. If these are the kind of people that Podium.me continues to recruit as journalists, then we are lucky, and it’s no surprise whatsoever that we continue to set the agenda in what matters to young people, every day.

And yes: I loved BBC North’s big glass walls, looking out onto Salford Quays. One day, I will work somewhere with windows.

George Ward’s Blog: Podium.me Training Day

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