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28 October 2014

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Get the lowdown on Jonathan's life as a BBC Blast reporter - follow the highs and lows in his very own not-so-secret diary...

Find out more about JJ here

applying for blast

Finding out, the interview and getting the place….

One Thursday afternoon towards the end of the school year, the Head of English asked me to come to her office … "oh dear, what have I done now" - was the first question on my mind, but she handed me over a A4 piece of paper saying she'd found me a perfect opportunity at the BBC which she thought I'd should go for!

'BBC BLAST YOUNG REPORTERS SCHEME'... Sounds interesting?! I entered my details on the BBC website and really promoted myself as much as possible … I didn't hear back for absolutely ages, but then one day (I remember it was my Sixth Form Induction day) - my mentor to be, Sarah gave me a call and asked me to come in for an interview with some other possible reporters … one of which is my co-reporter this year.. ROXY!

The actual interview went very fast but was both nerve-racking and exciting and there was quite a high competitive tension around the table. I really didn't think I had a hope in hell being the youngest person there, plus the only male … at the end of the interview, Sarah and Jeremy said that we'll get a call sometime the next morning - I'm not keen on waiting, but oh well… we waited….

To my surprise I got a phone call from Sarah about 6pm that night … which was a real shock - I remember her words… "Hi Jonathan, it's Sarah from the BBC. I'm really sorry to say, but YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO SEE MY FACE FOR THE NEXT TEN WEEKS!" My initial reaction was … actually, I can't remember it now, but I do remember I had a big smile on my face!

Anyway, time passed and before I knew it the training weekend had arrived…

Blast Mania in Bradford

Friday 16th July and Saturday 17th July saw myself and the other handful of Blast reporters make an early morning trek from our home towns to Heaton Mount part of the Bradford School of Management. Heaton Mount was an amazing place and everyone was in awe of the place.

We met the other Blast reporters, their mentors and the national Blast team - everyone had a great time and learnt a lot, everything we would need to know in the world of web journalism from writing skills to photography and the ins and outs of the BBC and the BBC Where I Live website structures. Was a truly motivating and interesting experience and we all made great friends with the other reporters from across the country.

Now, a special mention must go to the chef who made the food! Yum … Yum … I know it shouldn't really be of importance but a mention must go out into how nice and well laid out the food was … I certainly didn't go hungry! Hehe!

Me, Roxy and Faye (the Coventry Blast reporter) managed to get home OK, after a mad rush at Leeds and nearly missing the next train to Birmingham - but we caught it, just in the nick of time! Was a good team building and bonding experience to say the least!

week 1

Tuesday 27th July 2004

First day! I arrive at the Mailbox, sign in and get given the grand tour of the new BBC building. I get shown around all the English Regions office space, the WM studios and production suites as well as all the other sections that are based in the Mailbox.

Familiar faces keep popping up around the place, including Ashley Blake from Midlands Today and Ed Doolan from Radio WM. He was a really great person to talk to - as I'm interested in radio journalism and production and he gave some great advice and we both agreed on how great an experience this was.

Me and Roxy are getting along really well. We're currently working on our profiles and interview pages so that you guys can see all about who we are.

After lunch, we pop out and go and take some snaps across the Mailbox and the Brum Canals to add a bit of pizzazz to the diary and profile pages. Hope you like our cheesy smiles!

Well, that's the end of day one! And it's been a total blast (no pun intended!!)

Wednesday 28th July

JJ gets into the office again and realises he forget to shut down the computer and was left open with all my emails, settings and everything! Ooops! I started off by contacting the press team at the Alexandra Theatre to try and sort out an interview with the cast of Fame, which features 100 young people and they learn the whole thing in two weeks. Rather them than me!!!

I've just been invited to Party In The Park in Cardiff and I'm looking into which artists are from Birmingham and seeing if we can arrange some interviews with them …. Not having much luck yet, but... I'm trying lol

For the rest of the afternoon, I'm working on an article about 'Creativity in the Mailbox' - I found some interesting things, which I didn't know existed including a flower school!

I interviewed the guys at the Flower School and took some photos of everything. I'm also on a mission to get some clearance for pictures of the works of local artist, Willard Wigan, managed to track down his PR guy who said he'll send me some piccies …. Still waiting …. Hmmmm.

Thursday 29th July

I get in a bit late - (I had some problems at the bank, ya see!), and we're off to the old BBC building, Pebble Mill to do an Interactive Safety Course. Yes, it was as boring as it sounds…but it's the policy.

Let me tell you a little story….I went to the canteen to get me and Roxy some chips and on the way back I managed to lose Roxy's purse! Oooops! I went on a major search around Pebble Mill to find it, the front desk, the canteen, checking all the lifts, I even got Shefali from Midlands Today to help me look as we both met in the lifts! What a random experience that was.

Talking of random, I was casually walking (that's a lie, I was running in desperation to find her purse) … anyway, on my finding travels around Pebble Mill I managed to walk into the set of the TV show, 'Doctors' … thank the lord they weren't filming at the time!

I eventually found the purse in the canteen, where I first looked… anyway, it was found and me and Roxy continued with our stupid course - then headed back to Mailbox and I continued with this diary, after another call to the PR guy of Willard Wigan for these photos… the quest continues…

Won't be in much next week, as I'm doing some broadcasting experience workshops at Birmingham University ... so, be kind to Rox' for me, will ya?


More diary gossip from JJ

See Roxy's diary here

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