Thursday 27 January 2011

House Fire in Hulland Ward

This is one of the few stories I've worked on which has continued to play on my mind long after my working day is over. Over the last couple of days I've been covering the disturbing story of the death of four children in a house fire in Hulland Ward near Ashbourne. This was the first time I've been on a story for BBC Radio Derby where TV crews from Sky News, BBC News, ITV News etc were there. Yesterday I did seven lives for the breakfast show from the scene, including this one...

I then went to Ashbourne, where the childrens' mother works to report for the mid morning show...

Saturday 15 January 2011


I've just finished the BBC Journalism Foundation training week in London which included having a go at creative writing. It's the first time in years I've written anything that was not news-related. I wrote about a family holiday in France when my then three year old brother Pascal nearly drowned. I ended up writing it through his eyes...

I was curled up like a foetus. Still. Silent. But surrounded by water. Drowing...drowning...drowning.
A minute earlier just playing on the steps of the pool, too young to join the splashing, giggling games of my three older brothers.
Too young? I'm not too young. I want to play in the swimming pool. One, two, three steps towards them and I'm in, in, in too deep but so close. Metres from my brothers' games, the laughter, the splashes. Surrounded by water. Too deep to stand. Lips turning blue. Curled up like a foetus. Drowning...drowning...drowning.
Whoosh (cough) I'm out. Philip, my big brother raises me in his arms, from the dead. Alive again with my three brothers. And I'm cuddled in mum's arms, never to forget the day I nearly drowned.

If you're a journalist I'd highly recommend the BBC College of Journalism website. A lot of the training week I've just finished is on there:

A particular favourite of mine was the talk by Michael Blastland who warned us to scrutinise more closely statistics. It may sound dull but it's incredibly important to ensure the stories we tell our audiences are accurate.