Twelve Chevening Alumni have been selected to do placements in different departments of the BBC World Service, a highly respected British institution, over a period of four months.
We are sharing their stories, thoughts, and videos from their time at the World Service through our rolling #MyCheveningJourno blog.
We'll be posting regularly on this page as new content comes in from our talented team of journalistic alumni, so check back again soon for more!
More information on the placements can be found here.
At some of the compelling lectures on the Media Management MA course at the University of Westminster, I had an opportunity to learn about the BBC’s values, its strategies, and for the operational problems and opportunities of the British public broadcasting service.
I was excited to understand the importance of the BBC’s audience segmentation, and why the BBC has a unique place in the UK’s broadcasting ecology. Also, I read about managerial insights from the BBC in a period of great change from the books of one of the leading media management scholars, Lucy Küng.
But the opportunity to wear the BBC staff badge gave me a new taste of everything that I’ve learned before. It is like reading a recipe from a cookbook about a chocolate fudge cake with caramel cream icing and you get an opportunity to taste its flavour.
Instead of just reading about the attitudes that shape the BBC’s broadcasting policy, and how one of the best-known media organisations answers challenges posed by media convergence, I got a chance to tap into the BBC’s creative drive. It is a media world with many glassy shop windows where you can ‘buy’ experience from creative teams that exchange ideas to prepare different media products.
The most important lessons I’ve learned in the BBC are structured here in a ‘Buzzfeed-style’ list:
It is part of every blood cell of the BBC: its organisational life, culture, but also its strategy. Creativity is not just a fancy word written by the BBC’s strategists, but an everyday practice. Creativity is central to media organisations which have to create a work environment which boosts creative abilities.
In fact, creativity is the first step to innovation. As digital continues to transform the media landscape, the BBC stimulates innovation to be competitive in the global media arena. Innovation is not just about big investments in VR and in advanced technological tools for audience engagement. It is also about novel thinking and experimentation.
3. Connecting with audiences in a meaningful way
The technologically-driven challenges provoked by the internet did not put the BBC in a running race for clicks. Its long-term objectives are to serve all audiences and improve value for money through a more efficient and more open BBC. Interactivity allows BBC audiences to engage in different ways, such as taking part in a competition and deciding which match to watch on Wimbledon. So connecting with audiences through discussions, suggestions, and questions is important to build audience engagement and trust.
In the BBC I understood that producing a programme often requires reading a book or two on a certain topic. So, media organisations should place great emphasis on developing a learning environment. Therefore, BBC Academy is designed to provide the BBC’s staff with the opportunity to discover, learn, and grow through online and classroom courses and materials around different themes, such as social media newsgathering or the challenges of developing content for children.
5. Strategical thinking
Strategic thinking and planning enables the BBC to adapt to changes in the media industry. Identifying and analysing the strategic challenges and opportunities, but also quantifying the media markets is inevitable for a media company that wants to respond to change.
As part of the BBC 100 Women challenge tackling sexism in sport, Chevening Alumna Ritwika Mitra has been taking a look at how women's sportswear has developed over the decades.
Over time, as women have become more active in sport, their sportswear has become more practical - though there are some exceptions.
Bienne Huisman is delighted to have produced and edited a lead story for the BBC's Cultural Frontline programme - on a campaign for a new hijab emoji.
Rayouf Alhumedhi, a teenager living in Vienna, made digital history by calling for an emoji to represent women who wear hijabs.
Rayouf was creating a WhatsApp chat group for her and her friends, and couldn't find an emoji to represent herself - which is when the Hijab Emoji Project started.
Bienne's item 'apparently garnered unprecedented listener figures for the show'.
Listen to an interview clip here.
Jose Luis Penarredonda has just posted his first piece as a writer and producer at BBC Future.
His article is about the little-known Colombian laboratory engaged in a decades-long fight to save coffee from 'coffee rust', a disease that could disrupt coffee drinking everywhere.
Colombia is the third largest producer of coffee in the world and Jose Luis is enjoying the opportunity to find connections between Colombia and the UK.
Read the full article here.
Five weeks into the four-month placement, I feel so happy that I’ve been given this chance. I’m grateful to Chevening for this opportunity which has seen the realisation of my dream to work with the BBC World Service in London.
Even though I’ve worked as a journalist for over eight years, this is my first experience in a 24/7 news setting. Becoming one of the Chevening journos and working in the biggest news corporation in the world (BBC) gives me an incredible sense of accomplishment and joy. There wouldn’t have been any better way to wrap up #MyCheveningJourney in the UK.
I’m working on the Newsday programme which is the BBC World Service's international early morning news and current affairs programme. Already, I have helped produced over 15 pieces for radio.
I joined the Newsday programme not really knowing what to expect, but, so far the collaboration from the editors and other journalists and producers on the team has been phenomenal. After attending a one-week course in broadcast journalism at the BBC Academy, I joined the indefatigable team and have since been putting all the knowledge and skills into practice. From doing a master’s degree in Political Communication at Cardiff University to working as a producer with the BBC is such a transition, with far-reaching benefits for my career.
So far, I have integrated well with the team and have been doing both the day and the night shifts. With about three more months to go, I strongly believe there is still loads more to learn and a lot of practice to do. Without a doubt, this placement marks a great turning point in my career.
After this rewarding experience, I hope to go back to Cameroon and put these skills into use, especially as my country is nearing a defining period in its political life with the presidential, parliamentary, and municipal elections billed for 2018 and the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019.
In the meantime, I am taking this time to put in as much as I can into my placement, for this determines how much I get out of it. This is also an absolutely unique opportunity to visit all the wonderful places in the beautiful city of London.
I have something to confess: I was supposed to stop working in media.
The original plan was using this year of self discovery to find out what was the next step. I loved journalism, but was tired of many of its less nice tidbits. I wanted to do something new, to find novel ways of telling stories and fulfilling my passion and my curiosity.
I'm glad that I didn't do that. After a month here in the BBC, I find again that newsrooms are my natural space. I felt again the thrill of telling a good story, of making an impact on the world. I love it.
The first week was incredible. Working here, in one of the most influential and respected media organisations of the world, is a dream many colleagues have. The thrill of being able to make it was one of the best feelings I've had in a long time (I think the last time was when my Chevening Scholarship offer arrived early last year). Seeing first-hand the very studios you've seen on TV many times before was thrilling. Learning 'how the sausage is made' is just amazing.
I work on BBC Future, a site focused on long-form journalism about science and technology. I was a regular reader long before I got to the UK, so it was great to be part of the team. They gave me interesting projects to work on since day one; they want to increase their video production and I'm helping with that.
There are also a couple of really cool stories that I'm working on, and you'll find out as soon as I can share the news. For now, I can say I have learned a lot about my profession and about the culture of journalism in the UK. And I made a bunch of friends as well!
The challenges of working in an unusual format for me (I have worked in print and online for the better part of my career), in a language and a culture that are not my own, has been challenging and sometimes hard. Other days I just realise that this is it, that I'm living the dream. These days I go home feeling very lucky, with a big smile on my face.
I guess it will be the same smile I'll have in the years to come, whenever I remember my incredible four months at the BBC.
Indian Chevener Ritwika Mitra has been working for BBC 100 Women, producing news stories for the website.
The BBC's 100 Women Challenge: Change is Coming campaign took place in October with the aim of generating solutions to four everyday global problems faced by women. Teams of female talent worked together to invent, develop and deliver a prototype tech solution, product, or campaign that tackles each issue.
The four issues are breaking through the glass ceiling, tackling female illiteracy, combatting sexual harassment and improving safety on public transport, and sexism in sport.
Click on the photos to read Ritwika's articles.
Indian scholar Arjun Chatterjee is interning at HARDtalk, which features in-depth, hard-hitting interviews with famous personalities from all walks of life.
Arjun is enjoying working with the HARDtalk team and renowned journalist and presenter Stephen Sackur.
They are currently producing a special episode of the programme with Oscar-winning actress and activist Jane Fonda.
Arjun studied Conflict, Security and Development at the University of Sussex in 2016/2017.
Tah Peter Fomonyuy is from Cameroon and is studying an MA in Political Communication at Cardiff University.
He's spending his placement at Newsday, which broadcasts live news, business and sport from around the world.
At Newsday he had a taste of the night shifts involved in broadcasting, which he describes as 'exciting'.
Put the coffee on!
Our 2017/2018 cohort
Anna Kosinskaya, Russia, City University,
Tah Peter Fomonyuy, Cameroon, Cardiff University,
Marwa Othman, Egypt, Goldsmiths,
Pooja Chhabria, India, Goldsmiths,
Jose Luis Peñarredonda, Colombia, King’s College London,
Abdullah Hawez, Iraq, King’s College London,
Da Young Lee, South Korea, SOAS,
Arjun Chatterjee, India, University of Sussex,
Ivana Kostovska, Macedonia, University of Westminster,