BBC journalist nominated in Asian awards

Dhruti Shah smiling Dhruti Shah has worked for Radio 1 and Panorama

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A BBC journalist who balances her job with caring for her father has been nominated for the Asian Women of Achievement awards.

Dhruti Shah, currently working in the newsroom's user-generated content hub, has had about 11 jobs at the BBC since joining the journalism trainee scheme in 2008.

But she has also been juggling her work with looking after her father, who recently left hospital after a kidney transplant.

"My father was on dialysis... over the past four years, especially since my father got sick, there has been a lot to deal with but this is a good place to work, where you can deal with those challenges."

Class challenge

Dhruti has been shortlisted with nominees including Sonali Shah, who presents sports coverage and BBC One's Escape to the Country, and comedienne Shazia Mirza in the media category.

Previous BBC winners include the journalists Sangita Myska and Razia Iqbal, and former production head Kalpna Woolf.

Dhruti adds to calls for the BBC and wider media to be more representative but thinks the biggest challenge is class.

"Here, there are too many people from the same background so I think that's a massive issue and something that needs looking at."

Finding the right people

Her parents worked at Heathrow airport and she was the only student from her school to go to Oxford University.

Sonali Shah TV presenter Sonali Shah has also been nominated

"I'm from a working-class background… but because I went to Oxford, I learnt the importance of meeting with the right people, setting up [contacts] and being completely shameless in that, and that's something people here feel quite shy about and I don't understand why.

"I think we should support each other to have confidence… people shouldn't be worried about going on training to be more confident and assertive."

Dhruti runs College of Journalism workshops on networking, and those skills helped her, as a local reporter, to out-scoop the nationals for an exclusive interview with former Iraq hostage Norman Kember.

But she reckons one of the difficulties of the job is finding the people to pitch ideas at.

"One thing I've learnt is that, if you want to get on, and pitch your story to the right place and provide a fresh perspective, you need to know the right people to speak to. That's a massive issue and I think that goes back to the whole class situation as well."

Not shy of putting herself forward and helping others, she is also involved in the BBC's Global Women in News network and the John Schofield Trust mentoring scheme for young reporters.

"The media industry does have a lot of awards, however they tend to go to the same people who are then pushed [forward] again and again. There are other people who work damn hard and are just as good, who are maybe behind the scenes but don't get the credit that perhaps they deserve.

"It doesn't matter if you're in front or behind the camera… in order to get as far as you can get, you need to push yourself forward, no one else is going to do it for you - that's one of the things I've learnt being a journalist."

  • The Asian Women of Achievement awards will be held in London on Wednesday

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