Mentee, Georgia Coan, describes her journey to working on the new BBC podcast aimed at under 35s

“I’ve wanted to be a journalist since I was fifteen years old but I’ve had a passion for radio since I was a child. I’d record my own radio shows and interviews on an old cassette recorder with my younger brother and loved being able to listen back to our ‘shows’.

As I grew older, I had a real passion for documentaries and I was inspired by the likes of Louis Theroux and Stacey Dooley, a working class journalist who was from my home time of Luton and showed me you didn’t need to be Oxford educated to get in to the industry.

I decided to take creative media in college and it was there I really found my vocation and passion for telling the stories that affected our society, becoming an editor for the college magazine and working hard to achieve high grades in my projects. I had plans to go to university to study journalism. However, in my last year of college in 2013, tragedy struck. Elliot, my younger brother, died unexpectedly at the age of 16. My life was thrown upside down and I struggled with my mental health.

I pushed myself into university, fearing I’d let people down if I didn’t and couldn’t become a journalist without a degree. It wasn’t the best choice and I had to drop out after struggling with my health and not dealing with my overwhelming grief.

For a few years I took on small jobs helping local businesses with their social media but I knew my heart was still in journalism. So I started a blog about mental health and social issues as an outlet. It was from here I was invited to visit my local BBC radio station, Three Counties Radio. I signed up for work experience and before long I was freelancing as a Broadcast Assistant. Whilst I was there, the opportunity to apply for the BBC’s digital journalism apprenticeship scheme came up and my editor suggested it as it would allow me to get my NCTJ journalism qualification as well as train up as a BBC journalist. I learnt as much about my local station as I could before my assessment day and although I was optimistic,  I had doubts that I wasn’t good enough. I wanted this opportunity more than words could describe and knew I would work night and day to make it happen. I was so happy when I found out I was chosen as one of the seven apprentices out of hundreds who applied.

Since 2016, when I started my journey on the apprenticeship, I have gone on to achieve a gold standard NCTJ qualification, produce digital content for the BBC News website and social media pages, produce the lunchtime show at Three Counties, work on the Victoria Derbyshire show and a pilot for Radio 4. This pilot, a podcast called Beyond Today, was recently commissioned for the BBC Sounds app and I was asked to join the team as a junior producer. I’m having the time of my life and it’s so exciting to be involved in the launch of a project which will aim to reach younger audiences. I’m looking forward to the next adventure in my journalism career.”

Below is the BBC press release about the new podcast, Beyond Today, which can be found on BBC Sounds. The presenter of the podcast, Matthew Price, is also a mentor on the 2018-19 mentoring scheme. 

Beyond Today – the BBC’s news podcast for on-demand listening

One of the major new podcasts launched as part of BBC Sounds is Radio 4’s Beyond Today, a different take on news for an on demand audience.

Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and across the world, and under 35s listen to twice as many podcasts as over 45s.

In a world of non-stop news and sound bite social media, the news podcast takes listeners to the heart of a single story every day.

Born out of Today – Radio 4’s flagship news programme – and recasting news reporting for the on-demand world, alternate hosts Tina Daheley and Matthew Price and a team of younger journalists are on a daily mission to delve into a big news story with those who know it best.

John Shields, Editor of Beyond Today and previously Assistant Editor of Today, said:

“The best of BBC journalism runs through the veins of Beyond Today, but with added personality and bite. It’s a space for busy people who’ll have seen snippets of news on apps and feeds to take a bit of time to figure out what’s going on in the world. We’ve got a new production team committed to asking big questions about big stories in the news and beyond with brilliant BBC journalism as its starting point. We’re looking forward to developing the podcast over the months as we learn more about getting on demand news right for podcast listeners.”

The first episode on Monday 29 October – Budget Day, asked ‘Is there enough money now?’

Other subjects the podcast is looking to cover soon are: ‘who killed Iraq’s Instagram star?’ and ‘how will the US midterms test #metoo?’

Matthew Price, presenter of Beyond Today added:

“Taking what makes the Today Programme great and reimagining it in the form of a podcast allows us time and space to explore the right story for on demand listeners in the right way with the people who know about it best.’

A small team of journalists from across the BBC, including from the Today programme, are making the daily podcast and the majority of the new team are women and under 30.

Aimed at anyone interested in making sense of what is happening in the world around us and want to hear the conversation behind the headlines – each 15-20 minute episode will be available around 5pm every weekday.

Beyond Today is commissioned by Rhian Roberts, Radio 4’s Digital Commissioning Editor.