Imogen Walford – Mentee

Imogen Walford“Why do we cover political conferences anyway? What should we be showing?”

This is a typical challenge John McAndrew has thrown down to me in one of our mentoring meetings, getting to the heart of political coverage. The John Schofield Trust mentor scheme is designed to help young journalists who are trying to find a path in their careers, working out their next steps into editing or presenting; television or radio.

It has certainly provided that for me, with John offering plenty of helpful advice. But what I’ve really valued is having the space to play with ideas and think about how we practice journalism.

John set up ‘The Daily Politics’ for the BBC and is now Associate Editor for Sky. His inventive ideas about how to report on Westminster have encouraged me to think of different angles on political stories.

John’s current job at Sky has also helped me to see how things can be done differently in journalism. As an ex-BBC person, John understands my environment but also provides a window into another broadcaster. I’ve been able to see a Sky morning news meeting; sit in their gallery and get a general sense of how they make rolling news.

One of the greatest benefits of the John Schofield scheme is having such an informed pair of ears listening to your work, who’s not your editor or your mum.

When I did my first ‘What the papers say’, John and I talked it through. Having done so many programmes, he’s always there with a wise word of advice, and with encouragement to rip up the rule book when required.