I have been very fortunate throughout my career that people – good people – have taken an interest in what I was doing and were prepared and patient enough to help. On occasions I was given invaluable advice by senior correspondents within the BBC – particularly from correspondents within the World Affairs Unit – which came solely from their experience. They were shortcuts – on where to target my efforts, how to do the job, what not to do (just as important), and how to get ahead. I hope in some small way I can pass some of that experience on.
Had you ever done anything like this before?
No I have never done it before. But a colleague/friend within the BBC who did have a very good mentor told me just how supportive it can be.
How much commitment has it been for you?
It takes some time to watch through the videos and read the reports that are sent but that’s the fun bit. I have no experience as a teacher – so I say what I see, what I feel, as constructively as I can. I hope that comes across. I suppose the real test is whether the person you are helping finds some benefit.
How have you found the experience so far?
Very rewarding. We have met up in London. We talk regularly on the phone. The reporter with whom I am in contact is very talented. It is a confidence thing for her. But that comes with doing it more and more. I get quite a kick out of her improvements and seeing her get better.
What do you feel that you get out of it?
It’s funny you don’t think about your own experience. You don’t recognise it. You do things instinctively. So in some ways this makes you think about it. I have to say while composing emails/feedback I have had to think very hard about what I would do and why – and try to communicate it. I quite enjoy that process.