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Midlands Today: Creating a news programme

Hear from some of the Midlands Today team on how they put the programme together.

Midlands Today, presented by Mary Rhodes and Nick Owen, is a BBC regional TV programme covering areas including Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country. The team put out four daily bulletins and in this podcast we find out how.

We speak to Hilary McConnell, one of the channel’s two senior producers, Giles Latcham, a senior journalist and reporter, and Sarah Falkland, presenter and reporter (pictured above).

Whether you’re beginning your career or already established, finding stories is always the starting point for any journalist. Hilary advises that it is easy to fall into covering crime stories but striking a balance of “light and shade” - lighter stories as well as the the more serious ones - is important for the programme as well as the audience.

Finding the stories is one thing, going out there and getting them is another. Giles has worked in national and regional news and says, regardless of whether you’re covering the Zika virus or a fire at a factory in the Black Country, the challenge is the same: finding the best way to tell the story. But it is always “an honour and a privilege” to meet people and hear their stories.

Sarah is a reporter and a presenter, and this is another advantage or working in regional news: there are plenty of opportunities to gain experience. Giles says there’s a “great sense of being part of a team” no matter whether you’re a cameraman, reporter, presenter or a producer.

We couldn’t not talk about social media. It’s changed not only how the audience consume news but how those in news work.

It’s important to remember that social media is a two-way street and one of the great things about it is that it allows the audience to get involved. Weather Watchers is a prime example: anyone can send in pictures and give the weather where they are, and it’s used on regional and national news.

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19 minutes

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