Sunday, 5 July 2020

Sleep in lockdown

I'm fascinated by sleep and recently learned a huge amount about why it's so important for our health by reading the book 'Why We Sleep' by Matthew Walker. I've found I'm not sleeping as well as I did before lockdown and found some interesting stats. A recent national survey found unease around the current situation affected the sleep of three quarters of us. Alarmingly, 77% of people say lack of sleep is interfering with their ability to function in the day.

My experience and these stats inspired me to film this story on how lockdown has impacted on our sleep and I decided to tell the story through my own experience and with the help of the brilliant sleep coach Emma Ashford.



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Sunday, 28 June 2020

Parkour: Elise Bickley

This if the first non-coronavirus story I've reported on since lockdown and it was a great pleasure to film with parkour star Elise Bickley. She's one of the best female parkour athletes in the world and yet she’s just fifteen years old. I couldn't believe some of the tricks she pulled off while I was filming -  it's like she's got springs in her trainers! To film this story I used my normal JVC camera as well as my iPhone on a gimbal (which keeps the shot steady).


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Sunday, 21 June 2020

Mural

I reported on a mural that's been painted of a little known Sheffield woman who was influential in ending the slave trade. Mary Anne Rawson was the founding member of the Sheffield Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1825.



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Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Virtual Racing - Oliver Rowland

Motor racing is one of the many sports that is yet to re-start following the coronavirus lock down. However organisers of Formula E – the electric car version of Formula One – came up with an innovative way of keeping drivers racing. They’ve been holding an virtual version of the competition where drivers race on simulators in their homes. Barnsley’s Oliver Rowland won the latest Race at Home Challenge stage.



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Sunday, 14 June 2020

Homeless Mobile Phones

I've been reporting on a new scheme where homeless people in Rotherham are being given mobile phones and tablets to help them stay in touch with support services while their drop-in centre is closed because of lockdown. The NHS has funded forty rough sleepers being given the devices to help ward off isolation. One homeless man told me the phone has been a life saver.



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Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Care Home Drive-Thru

I had tears in my eyes as we filmed socially distanced drive-thru visits by families of care home residents at Sycamores in Wakefield. They'd not seen each-other for 10 weeks because of coronavirus lockdown. It was very moving.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

How to be a better parent

This post is off-topic but I wanted to share some wisdom I've gained to fellow parents.

During lockdown I've been spending a lot more time with my two children than usual which has been lovely (most of the time!) but at times challenging. It's made me keen to work on how I can be a better parent and after a recommendation from a colleague, I've read this book, ‘If I Have To Tell You One More Time’ by Amy McCready. I've learnt a huge amount including about how to deal with challenging behaviour like tantrums. After talking to fellow parents about the book I was asked by one of them to write a summary of the books recommendations and here they are:

- Mind, Body and Soul Time which I call ‘Special Time’. Set aside10 minutes twice a day to spend with each child individually, doing what they want to do, completely focusing on them so that they get the attention that they crave. No screens allowed (e.g. them watching TV or you looking at your phone). It fosters a strong sense of belonging and significance (their 2 emotional needs). Label the start and end of special time using a timer.

- Use your calm voice as much as possible, even if you don’t feel calm! When you speak calmly, you reduce the intensity level and invite cooperation.

- Instead of praise, encourage your child e.g. instead of “good boy”, use “good effort”, “well done for trying so hard” or “thank you for helping me make the table”. Use encouraging phrases regularly to bolster your child’s significance and reinforce positive behaviour.

- Take time for Training e.g. how to brush their teeth, tidy their bedroom, get dressed. The goal of parenting is to teach your child how to behave and equip them through practical knowledge and skills for greater independence.

- Everyone should contribute towards the running of the household. Even small children need to be given things to help = family contributions. 2-3 year olds can tidy away toys, wash veg, stir, help set the table and help clean their place at the table.

- Invite cooperation (similar to the above, ask them to join in with helping).

- Use When-Then. "When you finish picking up your toys, then we'll go to the park".

- Use either/or consequences (either you eat your peas or you get no dessert).

- Choices. Offering meaningful choices throughout the day gives positive power and the feeling that the child has some control over their life. Give them 2 options if possible e.g. “Would you like a tuna sandwich or a cheese sandwich for lunch?”

- Avoid the parent ego state as much as possible = limit ordering, directing and correcting your children as it leads to power struggles.

- Avoid labelling your children e.g. “he’s the bright one, she’s the sporty one”.

- Have consistent routines so that the child knows what to expect.

- Allow natural and logical consequences to happen so that the child learns from mistakes. Ask the child to repeat to you what the consequences will be e.g. if they refuse to wear their coat on a very cold day go with it.

- Tell your child what you won't pay attention to (e.g. whining while you're cooking). Ignore any such actions, and train appropriate behaviour (talk to me in a normal voice and either help me or play quietly beside me while I cook).

- If you need to get something important done while your child/children are around, schedule special time with them just before it so that they have their attention bucket filled. Also tell them that you won't be paying attention to them during the time you need to get something done but what they can do during that time.

- Walk away from tantrums.

- Ignore undue-attention requests e.g. demand for help with something the child can do himself or constant clinginess every time you need to concentrate on a task at hand. This needs to be done in collaboration with other positive methods above including special time, training your child in appropriate behaviour and revealing in advance what you will and won’t do.

- If you’re angry or upset with them, say “I feel...when you...I’d like it if you…” (This is also good advice for adult relationships!)

- Hold a family meeting every week. Sundays might be a good day to do it. Keep it up beat. Talk about how everyone’s doing and what you’ve got coming up.

- When a misbehaviour appears make sure you keep in mind that all behaviours are goal-oriented. Your child is seeking a sense of belonging and significance which is a child’s hard wired-emotional needs.

- Teach a child to not always need external compliments but to be proud of their own accomplishments (e.g. "You must have felt so happy when you finally cycled round the whole of the bike track without any help.") Encourage them but don’t overly praise them.

I hope you've got something from these ideas. I've found a lot of this advice is not only good for how to parent but also how to have good adult relationships too!

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Baby Basics

I've been filming with a national Christian charity which is based in Sheffield and supports new mums. Baby Basics has seen demand soar since lockdown started. They normally give essentials such as clothes, nappies and blankets to around seventy vulnerable new mums a month but now they’re helping four hundred and fifty families in that time.


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Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Life of a GP in the Pandemic

I put together this story with the help of Sheffield GP Ollie Hart who is an absolute natural in front of the camera and very good at filming his own videos. Our aim was to show how much General Practice has changed since the start of the pandemic.



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Sunday, 17 May 2020

University of Sheffield Volunteering

I've been named University of Sheffield's Alumni Volunteer of the Year for 2020 which I have to say I'm really chuffed about. Over the last few years I've been helping journalism students by mentoring them. For five years I was also a member of the Alumni Board which supports, advises and monitors  the effectiveness of the University’s alumni engagement programme.




I love being able to give back. I remember well what it was like as a student at the University of Sheffield and worrying about how I would break into the world of journalism. Talking to journalists about their careers really helped me back then and now, as a mentor, I have the opportunity to pass on the knowledge that I've acquired. All of the four students I've worked with over the years have been polite, enthusiastic and keen to learn. Two of them are now working for the BBC at a national level and I'm still in touch with them and proud to have played a small part in their success.

I'd really encourage fellow alumni to the University of Sheffield to volunteer, even if you have limited time to be able to do so. You can register your interest and look at the voluntary positions available here.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Clap for Carers Week 7

For the third time I put together the weekly clap for carers report for our late bulletin so it was a tight turnaround but I'm getting the knack of it now! The first shot I filmed on my iPhone after going for a run which culminated in the 2 minutes applause at Leeds Dock. I then rushed back to the BBC newsroom in Leeds to edit it.



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Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Supporting the Frontline

Ethnic minority organisations in Sheffield are teaming up to support frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic. They’ve been delivering food parcels to the most needy in the city and are hoping to make ten thousand face masks and shields for carers.



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Sunday, 3 May 2020

Cancer & Coronavirus

I covered a really troubling story which reflected the impact coronavirus on cancer treatment and detection. The stats are alarming - nationally more than two thousand cancer cases are likely to be going undiagnosed a week and an estimated 18,000 more people could die from cancer.

I filmed with Ben Hurd from Goldthorpe in Barnsley. He should have been having ongoing chemotherapy but it’s been postponed because he’s at high risk of dying if he were to contract Covid-19.

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The making of the story included many firsts for me - the first story I've filmed myself since lockdown started, the first including a Skype interview I filmed at home and my first pkg edited at home.

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Clap For Carers, Week 4

For the second week in a row I reported on the Clap For Carers. Last week there was a musical theme...



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Monday, 20 April 2020

Reporting During Lockdown

My work life has changed a lot since the start of the coronavirus lockdown. Journalists are key workers so I'm still allowed to go out reporting on stories. To restrict the amount of time we're outside, we're only deployed when our programme producer is sure s/he wants to run the story. I recently reported on the attempts to get homeless people to self-isolate by being housed in hotels, B&Bs and hostels. This photo shows some of the precautions we are taking when out reporting. I wear rubber gloves and use a long mic pole to do interviews to ensure I keep at least 2 metres away from people.

I obviously have to keep my distance from my camera crew too and that includes after filming, when we edit the story. With the homelessness story, my cameraman colleague Malik wanted to try out editing from a distance via our laptop screens. While Malik was editing from his van in the BBC Radio Sheffield car park, I went back to my makeshift office at home and we worked together to edit the report with screen sharing on Zoom. Malik played me the interviews so we could choose the clips which he spliced on the timeline. I recorded my voiceover on my iPhone and emailed him the audio. As you can see I had some help from my little assistant who has agreed that her room is mine by day and hers by night!



When reporting live on the BBC Look North set in Leeds as I did last week I have to keep at least 2 metres distance from the presenter. To minimise risk we also do not wear personal radio mics - you can probably just about see the microphone we use which is by my knee in the photos. Luxmy and I kept a safe distance from each other!




I normally film the majority of my stories myself using a camera, tripod and personal radio mic which I clip on the interviewee's collar. However because I need to keep at least 2 metres distance from everyone, I have been given a mic stand and a long cable so that I can use my gun (fluffy) mic instead of a radio mic. I've been testing this at home with my other slightly bigger assistant!

I'm doing the majority of my work from home which is very different from being around my colleagues who I'd often bounce ideas off and socialise with. When I am in the newsroom at BBC Leeds or Sheffield we keep our distance from colleagues by only using every other desk.

Despite the changes to the way we're operating, the team at Look North is pulling together and working really hard. We're determined to bring our audience the best possible coverage of the biggest story of our lives and I feel privileged to be a part of it.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Coronavirus Hospital Staff Deaths

I covered the very sad story of two members of hospital staff dying from Covid 19 in Yorkshire. In my live report I felt an even greater sense of responsibility than I normally do a good job of telling the story e.g. getting the names of the nurse and technician right as well as the words of tribute to them.


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Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Clap for Carers

I covered the weekly 'Clap for Carers' story where people step out onto their front doors to pay tribute to NHS staff and other key workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. I was inundated with footage filmed by colleagues and viewers from right across Yorkshire so had the luxury of choosing only the very best material. The clap was at 8pm and we were on air with this story in our late bulletin at 10:30pm so it was a tight turnaround in the edit. We used lots of natural sound of the clapping and cheering to help tell the story.

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Sunday, 12 April 2020

Homlessness & Coronavirus

This week I did my first report on the coronavirus.  The government has given councils funding to find places for rough sleepers to live. Some homeless people have told me they'd rather stay on the streets than go into emergency accommodation - as they think they are safer there. I was given exclusive access to the team coordinating the homelessness response to the pandemic in Sheffield.



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Sunday, 8 March 2020

Rat Infestation

I went back to the Page Hall area of Sheffield a year on from my story about the rat infestation there. Clearly there's still a rodent problem. This time I filmed with the council to find out how they're trying to deal with the problem...

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Sisterhood Basketball

I had a brilliant time filming with Sisterhood Basketball in Sheffield. They're a club made up of girls and women from ethnic minority backgrounds and show the power of sport to do good.



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Thursday, 20 February 2020

Women's Six Nations

I went to Loughborough this week to see how England Women's Rugby Union squad were preparing for their crucial Six Nations match versus Ireland in Doncaster on Sunday. We didn't finish filming until about 5pm so it was a tight turnaround to get the report on air for 6:30pm. The key was preparing questions and a draft script beforehand.



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Sunday, 9 February 2020

Sugar

This week I filmed and edited a story about efforts to encourage people to cut down on the amount of sugar they eat. Nearly one in four children starting school in Sheffield is overweight or obese and nearly 2,000 children a year in the city have to have a general anaesthetic to have teeth taken out. It's largely down to the alarming amount of sugar many kids consume. A 5-year campaign has been launched to encourage parents and children in Sheffield to reduce their sugar intake.



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Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Wakefield Fire

I reported in Wakefield on a huge fire at an industrial bakery, which covered large parts of the city in thick black smoke...



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Sunday, 2 February 2020

Behind-the-scenes: Sheffield Utd Women

I filmed behind-the-scenes with Sheffield United Women as they were looking to cause an upset in the Women's FA Cup against top flight side Birmingham City. I love sport and it was fascinating to film what goes on in the changing room and on the touch line.



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Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Custody Navigators

I had a good time filming inside Sheffield's custody suite this week. A new scheme has been launched in the city to help young people caught up in violence to find a way out. At least ten men have been stabbed to death in the city since 2018. The Violence Reduction Unit has been set up by the Police and Crime Commissioner to tackle the problem.



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Sunday, 26 January 2020

Courier Fraud

South Yorkshire Police are warning people not to fall victim to courier fraud. This is where people are conned into believing they have to take money out of their bank account to then be collected by a scammer pretending to be a police officer or bank worker. Elderly and vulnerable people are particularly at risk. I filmed with a victim of courier fraud in Rotherham who I felt very sorry for.



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Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Sick Children's Trust

I was asked to make a promotional film about the charity the Sick Children's Trust which has two houses in Sheffield where parents of children who are being treated at the children's hospital can stay. It's such a valuable space for parents and I was keen to help publicise their fundraising efforts so was happy to give my time for free.



I also made a report for BBC Look North on the story...



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Sunday, 19 January 2020

Arbourthorne Shooting

I covered a shocking story this week about what's thought to be a feud between two rival gangs leading to an innocent twelve year-old boy being shot in a drive-by attack in Sheffield.



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Sunday, 12 January 2020

Sub Referee!

I had the great pleasure of filming and editing a story with a teenage football fan whose dream came true when he got the chance to referee at an FA Cup game. Sheffield United season ticket holder Tyler Machin ended up going from spectator to fourth official after an assistant referee fell ill in the Blades game against AFC Fylde. The 19 year old had already refereed a Sunday league game in the morning and still had his kit on from the match!


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I chose not to use any voice-over in the report as Tyler was such a good talker and I only had 30 seconds of shots of him available to illustrate the story which I used to cover the edits between chunks of his interview.



Monday, 6 January 2020

HS2

Opponents of the HS2 rail project in Yorkshire have welcomed a damning assessment of the scheme by one of the key people appointed by the government to review it. Lord Berkeley, who's a long-standing critic of HS2, says costs are out of control, the economic benefits are overstated and further delays are inevitable.



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