BBC School Report: Inspiring the next generation of journalists

Thursday 3 April 2014, 12:58

Damian O'Neil Damian O'Neil Video Journalist, BBC Look North

Tagged with:

Damian O’Neil is a video journalist at BBC Look North in Newcastle. He is just about to finish a three month BBC Outreach attachment working on School Report in the North East and Cumbria.

When my newsroom colleagues learned of my 3-month attachment to School Report, their reactions ranged from bemusement to incredulity. In a few cases, there was an unmistakeable trace of paranoia, as if they may have missed out on something. No-one really knew very much about School Report, including me, but since I had researched the position before applying, I at least knew more than most.

As a fully-signed up member of my own fan club, I have been working with like-minded individuals in a number of broadcast newsrooms for 20 years. Journalists are essentially about themselves; the degree to which we help each other out varies, but in the search to get the story in a competitive environment, we are driven to serve our own interests.

By the end of 2013, the feeling that I enjoyed a good quality of life without putting very much back had become sufficiently uncomfortable to compel me to do something.

Damian O'Neil Damian visiting Beaumont Hill Academy, Darlington, a school for pupils with special educational needs

When I got the call to say I had won the attachment I was delighted, but beyond a general idea that I would be helping school kids produce their own reports, I was unsure what was required. I just knew that I wanted to inspire at least one person to pursue a path that they would not have otherwise considered. Part of my brief was to engage with schools in hard-to-reach areas, and we have plenty of those in the North-East and Cumbria. Getting them to enrol in School Report proved to be the hardest part of my job; most headteachers would not even return my emails and calls.

But I did spend a great deal of time visiting schools, talking to the pupils about life as a broadcast journalist, and helping them produce some excellent work. We got a lot of material on air: I ended up filming three School Report pieces that made it onto Look North, BBC Tees and BBC Newcastle ran radio packages and radio car lives, and we had a fantastic television outside broadcast from Marden High School on News Day.

My attachment was a hugely rewarding experience, and I know that I succeeded in my aim of inspiring some of the kids, because both they and their teachers told me. I left with a new-found respect for schoolteachers, and a much greater understanding of the challenges they face every day. I hope that this experience with School Report will not have been my last.

Damian O'Neil is a video journalist for BBC Look North.



Tagged with:


Be the first to comment

Share this page

More Posts

Bringing the football world together

Wednesday 2 April 2014, 13:30

What's on BBC Red Button, 5-11 April

Friday 4 April 2014, 13:10

About this Blog

This blog explains what the BBC does and how it works. We link to some other blogs and online spaces inside and outside the corporation. The blog is edited by Jon Jacob.

Follow About the BBC on Twitter

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?

External links about the BBC

S Club 7 reunion FINALLY confirmed: They’re bringing it all back for Children In Need (Metro)

Kate Moss to appear in BBC’s David Walliams adaptation (Guardian)
"Supermodel to have cameo role as herself in hour-long family drama The Boy in the Dress, which will air at Christmas"

Doctor Who's new web game aims to teach children programming skills (Guardian)
"Latest attempt to make coding fun for kids involves rescuing a Dalek and exploring the unscreened world of Sontar"

BBC boss Danny Cohen hits back at Children in Need 'hidden millions' claims: 'Vulnerable children could suffer' (Mirror)

Strictly Come Dancing triumphs over The X Factor again in ratings battle (Independent) 

The Vamps win big at Radio 1 Teen Awards (MTV)

BBC adds chat app to Ebola effort (Ariel)
"World Service has turned to instant messenger to get the latest word on Ebola out to audiences in West Africa."

Broadcasters Reveal Leaders' Debate Plan (KL.FM)
"Sky News, the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have announced joint plans for a series of party leader debates across TV and the internet in the run-up to the 2015 General Election."

BBC3 orders six docs from new directors for Fresh strand (Televisual)
"BBC3 has commissioned six new one-off documentaries for its Fresh strand – the channel’s scheme for new directors looking for a break into prime-time film-making."

Brainy BAMEs upskill (Ariel)

Pharrell, One Direction, Sam Smith And Pretty Much Everyone You’ve Ever Heard Of Beautifully Cover "God Only Knows" (Buzzfeed)
"Don’t blink, you might miss Elton John covered in butterflies or Lorde wearing angel wings"

Alan Sugar's not looking for 'donkeys' (Ariel)

BBC iPlayer catch-up window extended to 30 days

Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace is first celebrity to leave the show (Radio Times)
"The MasterChef presenter fails to cook up enough votes to ensure his survival as Mrs Browns Boys star Jennifer Gibney beats him in the dance-off"

Martin Freeman to Star in BBC Drama About Trial of Adolf Eichmann (Hollywood Reporter)

BBC's casting coup: Sir Anthony Hopkins and Sir Ian McKellen unite (Telegraph)

BBC launches Young Dancer 2015 competition (Digital Spy)
"the BBC is working with top names in dance to develop a programme that will not only find the young dance performers of the future, but give them a real break at the very start of their professional careers"

Conway to head up BBC Studios and Post Production (Televisual)
"I’m looking forward to working with the BBC S&PP team to further stabilise the business after several years of exceptional transformation and change"

First Look At Benedict Cumberbatch As Richard III In The Hollow Crown (Empire)

Sheila Tracy, the first woman to read the news on Radio 4, dies (Telegraph)

Sheila Tracy, the first woman to read the news on Radio 4, dies (Telegraph)

Radio 2 Live In Hyde Park attracted record 1.19m Red Button viewers (Musicweek)
"These numbers bear testimony to us having secured this broad and distinctive line-up of artists who are bang on target for our audience on air, online and on TV"

End of an era: BBC letters taken down from Television Centre in Shepherd's Bush after 54 years (Evening Standard)

Eniola Aluko makes history as first female Match of the Day pundit (Guardian)

Last updated Wednesday 22 October 2014

Blogs from across the BBC

Selected by the About the BBC Blog team.

BBC to launch 'The Doctor and the Dalek' game for kids [Doctor Who]
Weather: Redirecting mobile users to responsive [Internet]
Google's 'right to be forgotten' tour comes to London [Academy]
Encouraging your children's language and comprehension skills through shared book reading [CBeebies Grown-ups]
The vegetables of truth [Adam Curtis]

MatOf ThDay At 50: onic theme even has a banjo [TV]