For someone who wants to work within communications, the value of working at an organisation such as the BBC cannot be overstated. Three weeks ago I was lucky enough to start a placement within the Week In Week Out programme, based at BBC Wales in Llandalf. This programme focuses on hard-hitting and investigative journalism. Past episodes have covered a wide range of topics such as immigration, debt, the mental health of young people and children, slavery, drugs, social care, adult literacy and numeracy, dementia and religious extremism. Other major stories have focused on the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of three SAS reservists during a training exercise in the Brecon Beacons and the events leading to Wales’s biggest health board, Betsi Cadwaladr, being put into special measures. For this particular episode, families involved spoke to the programme for the first time about how their relatives were treated on a dementia ward.
During my first week, I particularly enjoyed helping the team on their last preparations for the latest episode focusing on the Welsh view of Jeremy Corbyn and the potential impact of his leadership election victory on Wales. Here, I put my keen interest in politics to use by monitoring any news developments relating to his early leadership of the Labour Party. Though researching web pages of reports may appear to many mundane, I quickly realised that genuine and very real human stories are at the heart of such research and consequently, how vital such work really is to the Week In Week Out programme. Ultimately, these are the human stories which connect and engage with audiences and it is this relationship with viewers across the country, that is at the heart of the BBC as a whole.
Another valuable opportunity and indeed, interesting and insightful experience, was witnessing the process of editing footage for a programme to it going out live from the BBC gallery; this is basically the main control room where many BBC Wales programmes are scheduled and go live on-air. Currently I am working with colleagues to research and develop upcoming stories and am equally enjoying this. It has also been a very pleasant and welcoming surprise to find a couple of colleagues who love horror films as much as I do. Luckily, I have just enough time to draw up a list of my own favourite films for them to watch on Halloween.
Reflecting on my time at the BBC so far, I view my experience not just as an important stepping stone to my chosen career but yet another experience where I have made new friends, as well as colleagues, in my journey to build my confidence and ultimately overcome my social anxiety.
The BBC has both fulfilled it’s own values and exceeded my expectations as a welcoming and inclusive environment to work in and one which values diversity. Above all, however, as someone who has moments of self-doubt about my own ability, I will always remember my experience here and the support and encouragement I have been given, as a source of strength I can drawn on in the future.
I therefore look forward to the rest of my time at BBC Wales and what I can achieve together with my friends and colleagues.