BBC Newsbeat highlights local radio experience as the “vital training ground” for aspiring journalists

Paul Stanworth and Roisin Hastie at Journalism and Media Week

By Alice Young

BBC Newsbeat’s Paul Stanworth and Roisin Hastie have told aspiring journalists at Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism and Media Week that local radio is an invaluable training ground.

Paul Stanworth, deputy editor of BBC Newsbeat, and Roisin Hastie, newsreader for Greg James’ Radio 1 Breakfast show, both started their journalism careers in local newsrooms.

Both highlighted the key skills which are gained from experience at a local radio station – from finding and writing a story to the fundamentals of editing.

Paul developed many of his radio skills at BBC Radio Shropshire.

He said: “So much can be said about local newsrooms.

“Carry out work experience at a local level – you’ll get to do so much.

“At Newsbeat, most people have some sort of commercial or BBC experience, or both.

“I don’t know anyone that regrets spending time at a local level.”

Roisin has experience working at radio stations across the UK – she underlined the importance of gaining experience in different regions.

She said: “Learning in lots of different patches helped me when I was sent out to report on a story.

“Nothing beats getting out and about and being in the field.

“You’ll learn very quickly in a local newsroom – it is so vital as a training ground.

“For me, being a local reporter was invaluable.”

Paul told aspiring journalists the key to getting a foot in the door at the BBC is to start at a local level.

He said: “Use your local stations – they can be and will be really helpful.”

Referring to his days at BBC Radio Shropshire, he added: “There are so many people at local newsrooms who can teach you so much.

“Local newsrooms are such a good place to get the skills that you can take on with you wherever you go.”

Paul reminded the audience that reporting stories at a local level is just as important as covering breaking national news stories.

He said: “Sometimes, you think the stories can feel small because there are big, exciting national stories that you’re not working on – but your time will come.

“Local radio may not feel the most exciting or biggest place to work for some people – but you are wrong.

“You are learning so much.”

Additional video material by Ryan Cumberworth (Roisin Hastie interview) 

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