BBC Birmingham

Riyah Collins takes some time out of an incredibly busy schedule to reflect on her time with BBC Birmingham so far…

Thanks to an alarmingly speedy passage of time, I somehow find myself over halfway through my internship at BBC Birmingham.  Having just finished our second week of intern training back on campus, looking ahead (although not necessarily forward) to what awaits post-internship is somewhat a preoccupation at the moment. With that in mind, taking some time to look back and reflect on what I’ve been up to since my last blog post is a welcome opportunity!

Since my last update in November, I’m thrilled to report things haven’t slowed down at all for me here!  In the run up to Christmas I was able to work some more with BBC WM for the recordings of the highlights of their festive calendar, Ed Doolan’s Christmas Show (recorded at the Symphony Hall), and the WM Carol Service, (which this year was recorded at Birmingham Cathedral).  Working with local radio has been a real highlight of my internship so far and I’m keen to keep it up.  I’ve had loads of fun shadowing the Sunny and Shay show for outside broadcasts, following them to Birmingham Botanical Gardens and The New Alexander Theatre, as well as sitting in with them in the studio.

Clockwise from top: Sunny and Shay; Ed Doolan’s Christmas Show; WM Carol Service

I’ve been doing a lot of work with the comms team, and regularly do social media updates for BBC Birmingham, as well as doing updates for other accounts like Sunny and Shay when I am out and about with them.  I’ve had a master class in social media and I’ve seen how the BBC is adapting to the growing demand for news on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter – for example making ‘digital shorts’ and uploading videos in a square format so they look better on smartphones.

As ever, the Christmas period was jam packed with exciting events and I was able to help out with a few of them!  A highlight was of course Sports Personality of the Year, which came live from the Genting Arena in December.  The scale of the production was breathtaking, and it was a real privilege to be a part of it, however small.  Unsurprisingly, A LOT of BBC staff were keen to volunteer here, so my original casting was to carry umbrellas for the athletes (!), but after a drier day than expected, I was able to wangle myself a role on VIP check in (!!) and after that I was given the particularly taxing job of sitting in the audience and watching the show to make sure no empty seats were filmed (!!!). So overall, a pretty terrible day at the office.

Before that, I was up in Yorkshire with the comms team for an advanced screening of the Christmas Bronte drama, ‘To Walk Invisible.’  The screening took place in Hebden Bridge Picture House, and as we arrived the town was delightfully gloomy and foggy, as if it were making an effort to emphasise to all visitors that we were in Bronte country.  The event went amazingly well, and it makes me so proud to be part of the BBC when I see how much thought and consideration goes into events like this, to make sure it does justice to the programme and also to make the community proud of what the BBC has produced there.

Hebden Bridge.jpg

Hebden Bridge

Looking forward, I’m currently organising the BBC News School Report Big News Day which will be happening in March.  At the Mailbox, we’ll be inviting around 60 children from deprived areas to join us for the day for a number of workshops to see what goes into making the news, as well as what else the BBC does.  One school will even have the chance to make their report with BBC staff before having it broadcast on Midlands Today.  My mentor, Jenny, is letting me really take the reins on this, so I’m coordinating about eight workshops, deciding which schools to invite, and generally sorting the plan for the day.  It’s starting to take shape already and I can’t wait to see it all come together from start to finish.

The final few months of my internship are set to be as amazing as my first- I just wish it could last longer!  My time at BBC Birmingham so far has taught me so much and exposed me to so many different opportunities (this blog post could easily be 10x longer!) and definitely given me a direction in which I want my career to take me.  Watch this space, who knows what March will bring.




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