What Happens at a Training Day?

On Friday, Podium.me journalists from around the country came together for what was arguably our most important training day yet. I’m the intern at Podium.me, and I was there six months earlier at our last training day, which we held in founder Camilla’s kitchen. Now, here we were in Canary Wharf, with a hundred young Podium.me journalists, and a Radio Academy Award nomination under our belts.

Thomson Reuters very kindly lent us space in their Canary Wharf office, and we spent the day in their capacious auditorium with glowing orange walls. 120 Podium journalists came from around the country, many of them getting up valiantly early to travel to London; it was such a brilliant opportunity to get all of Podium.me’s talented journalists in the same room.

After a great welcome from Camilla and the Podium.me team, we heard from some very wise and inspirational speakers. Alex Dalton was first; she had risen up through the BBC as a sports producer, working on the Sydney Olympics and with such prolific broadcasters as Clare Balding. She gave us brilliant advice, applicable not only to our future careers but to life more generally: she encouraged us to keep a diary of our interests, to help guide us in making our aims, and to never get our phones out in important meetings.

Rosie Bartlett, who began her career at BBC World Service before moving into different roles including launching and managing the BBC’s Production Trainee Scheme, told us about the key qualities a journalist should have: curiosity and nerdiness about the stories that interest you. Both Alex and Rosie stressed that much important journalism is being done now outside of traditional institutions, on blogs and, of course, YouTube.

Shanique Joseph then took to the, err, podium, to speak with Camilla about her experiences of being a journalist from the very beginning two years ago, and making her own podcasts for Podium.me, Views on the News.

Reuters Picture Editor Simon Newman explained how the global flow of Reuters pictures get from the ground to the papers, and enlightened us on so many things, from how he edits pictures to how Reuters handles issues of copyright.

We also heard from Dan Whitworth of BBC Radio 1 and 1xtra’s Newsbeat. He talked us through a typical day at Newsbeat; it turns out that no day is ever typical at Newsbeat. The team all keep overnight bags and passports in their lockers, and might find themselves anywhere from the streets of Stoke to up in the sky in a Chinook helicopter.

All of the day’s events were filmed by one of our own journalists, Karkiu, for a very exciting film for our website. I’ve had a sneaky look at the footage, and the film promises to be brilliant (so watch this space!).

After lunch we came back for three half-hour workshops. I’m sad I didn’t get to sit in on Cheeka and Penny and Annabel’s workshops, but I was extremely excited to get the opportunity to run one of my very own. I chose to work on interview skills, and use press freedom as a discussion topic. I was so impressed at how passionately everybody talked about this issue, and was pleased to see it at the top of the minds of the journalists. We asked the question why do you want to be a journalist? Based on the interviews they did with each other, this is why our Podium.me journalists chose their vocation:

I got a chance to take to the stage myself with Imogen Eason, who interned at Podium.me before me, to speak about our experiences of working at the Pod. The other event of the day which deserves a special honourable mention is, of course…Penny’s cake! It was so delicious and fuelled us through this extremely busy and exciting day. I ended up with so many things running through my head: how professional everybody was, how much information there was to think about, how different people looked than the version of them I have in my head when I edit their audio…

I think congratulations are in order to Camilla, Annabel, Penny, Cheeka, and everybody else who worked hard to make the day so special. I wish a very special and prosperous next few months to all the amazing people I met on Friday. Where on earth will we when we meet again for the next training day?

Journalist: Catherine Brinkworth

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