Finding and telling news: Sima Kotecha

podcast

12 Sep 2016

Sima Kotecha, a senior reporter on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, explains how to be a successful broadcast journalist

How does Sima find stories?

  • By using social media to find something compelling which leads to a story
  • Talking to people on the street or at events for ideas

What makes a good story?

  • Can you explain your story or idea to an 11-year-old?
  • ‘Keep it simple stupid’ (KISS)
  • Real people with compelling stories, different feelings, personalities, problems and issues

"Be bold, be brave, don’t be scared – go up to that person you think won’t talk and ask them for that interview." – Sima Kotecha

What makes a good reporter?

  • You have to become an expert very quickly. There is no room for getting anything wrong. Read, listen and talk to people
  • ‘Produce’ your interviewees to keep them to topic. A phone conversation can help
  • Be bold, be brave, don’t be scared

Building relationships with contributors

  • Be patient
  • Listen
  • You can’t just show up and start recording
  • Get what you need and leave, before the amount of material you gather becomes overwhelming

Package-making

  • A typical package for the Today programme is just four minutes long - ideally three-and-a-half
  • Have a dramatic clip at the beginning and a dramatic clip at the end  
  • Be ruthless
  • Go for those bits of audio where you know people at home will go wow!

"The job of a journalist is to find answers to questions everybody wants answers to." – Sima Kotecha

A journalist’s job is to:

  • be independent
  • conjure up debate
  • invite the audience to challenge what they have heard on the radio and make their own mind up
  • show both sides to a story
  • find answers to questions everybody wants answers to

A journalist’s job is not to:

  • over-complicate things
  • say what is right or wrong
  • be dictated to by contributors

Where next?


Around the BBC

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