BFBS Team in Afghanistan

In Helmand Desert With BFBS

Whether reporting from the cockpit of an RAF Typhoon jet fighter, being an eyewitness in the control room of a Royal Navy nuclear submarine or diving into the dirt of Afghanistan to escape a Taliban mortar attack – it’s been quite some ride.

Looking back on 40-plus years in journalism, I recognise only too well what an enviable experience it must seem.

All the more so because in today’s cost-strapped and office-bound industry it is hard to see how younger correspondents will have the chances I have been privileged to enjoy.

But if my experience has taught me one thing it is that reporters need to be where the story is.  Sharp analysis and elegant phrase-making can be done at a distance, really finding out what is going on needs boots -and Biros -on the ground.

So my top tips to today’s budding battlefield correspondent

  • Specialise.  Decide early on what niche you want to fill and work hard at understanding the brief and making yourself top of news editors’ list when they’re in a hurry to find someone who really knows the subject.
  • Be persistent.  Pushiness pays off.  Pester your editors, contacts, organisations, ANYONE who can help you reach where the action is.
  • Stay confident.  Self-belief and a conviction that the story is there to be told will carry you far.
  • Look for the back ways into assignments, routes to the battlefront that others won’t have thought of. But always be mindful of your safety and those with you.

Share this blog

Bookmark and Share