James Banks – Mentee

James Banks

James BanksAs a relative latecomer to the world of journalism I was keen to get as much guidance and advice to establish myself in my new career as quickly as possible. After over a decade serving as an Officer in the British Army I knew I had a lot to learn about the dos and don’ts of journalism and lots of bad habits to shake off. After finishing my PG Dip course at Cardiff University, I began working as a reporter for British Forces News.

During my first twelve months, I reported on a range of stories from line-dancing grannies, knitting hats for soldiers, to being embedded with Afghan troops in Helmand. When I first heard about the John Schofield Trust Mentoring scheme I jumped at the chance to have someone outside my editorial chain to go to for advice and feedback.

Having someone like Andrew Wilson to turn to over the last few months has been a real help and I believe my work has improved dramatically. Be it career guidance or how to plan a particularly tricky story, having someone with that level of experience who has no editorial interest has been invaluable.

We’ve been able to sit down, have a coffee and dissect my work. Looking at how I could, among other things, improve my scripting, my choice of clips and my use of pictures to tell the story. It’s also given me the confidence to know when I’ve done something well and when I should have done better, all without letting my boss know I think I’ve done a below average piece of work.