Naomi Scherbel-Ball – Mentee

Naomi Scherbel-BallFor the last two years I have been working in foreign news as a freelance reporter and producer. I started out working in the BBC’s Paris bureau and then returned to London after a short detour to Germany. Now I balance my work between the BBC’s foreign desk in London, reporting for the new investigative website Exaro and broadcasting as a roving reporter for Deutsche Welle. Having spent time both in the field and in the newsroom, as a producer and a reporter, I understand how the person at the other end of the phone is feeling and the pressure they are under!

Earlier this year I went back to Paris for the French election. This was a good opportunity to test out my reporting skills during an election, providing live coverage for the first time as well as radio packages and print articles. Francois Hollande’s victory marked a new chapter for France and for Europe, with Hollande positioning himself as the new leader of the left in Europe.

One of the things that struck me throughout the election campaign was the engagement of young people and I’ll never forget the energy of the celebrations on the streets of Paris after the results were announced. At a time when younger generations of voters in Britain are particularly disillusioned, in France voting, and keeping up to date with the twists and turns of the electoral campaign, is considered by many as a duty.

While it’s great to work on the big breaking news stories that change the way we see the world, like the Fukushima disaster and the Arab Spring, it’s often the people stories that are the most memorable. Hearing about the increase in marriages between Libyans and Syrian refugees for example, is an unusual perspective on the conflict, but it’s often stories like this that stay with our audiences.

At the moment I’m juggling a number of different jobs working as a producer and a reporter across for different outlets.

The John Schofield Trust mentoring scheme has helped me focus on my career path and pitch stories to programmes and outlets that I wouldn’t have considered. Most of all – it’s great to talk to someone freely and sound out ideas or projects with one of the best people in the industry.