The programme that puts listeners' questions to those in the know at BBC World Service
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Caroline Karobia and Mahmoud Ali Mohammed talk about reporting for BBC World Service from the BBC bureau in Nairobi, Kenya.
Q: The BBC has bureaux in major cities around the world, such as Nairobi. What happens in these bureaux?
A – Caroline Karobia: "I work at the BBC’s Nairobi bureau as a senior reporter for BBC World Service, providing news and current affairs reports for both the BBC Swahili and African English services.
This week for example, I’m working as the day shift editor. First thing in the morning, I find out what’s happening across the region, which includes Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and, at times, Sudan. When there are big stories from other areas such as DR Congo or Rwanda, I include those too. I then send a docket to BBC World Service headquarters in London, which has to be there by 9am, outlining the stories we have to offer.
After that, I send local reporters out on assignment and make sure they’re back on time with their stories. If we’re not able to get the stories we want, I’ll call the producer in London and explain what’s happened. But today, for example, there are at least three stories from Nairobi already, and it’s relatively early, so there may be more to come.
Several of the BBC’s language services operate from or have reporters based here in Nairobi. The main languages are Swahili and English, but we also have people from the Great Lakes region – Burundi and Rwanda – and there are reporters from the French service, BBC Afrique. And there’s a Somali Service reporter too, Mahmoud Ali Mohammed, who’s a Somali from Kenya."
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Mahmoud Ali Mohammed
"I work for the BBC Somali service in the Nairobi bureau. I produce some of the programmes from here and I also fix interviews, report from the field and do the daily current affairs reports. The production of our late programmes has been shifting from London to Nairobi in order to get closer to BBC listeners here. For example, we now produce a weekly education programme here and we also produce a programme which helps people trace relatives displaced by the fighting in Somalia which started decades ago. The BBC offers them the chance to find family members through an announcement programme.
Every news story we handle in the bureau is a new challenge and to be able to rise to it, we have to be here. News has no timetable – sometimes you’re woken up late at night sometimes you’re forced to come in early and leave late. Working here really keeps us on our toes – but it’s very interesting job."
Caroline Karobia and Mahmoud Ali Mohammed are BBC World Service reporters based in the BBC Bureau in Nairobi, Kenya.