Roundup of May Fellows’ News

Congratulations are in order for 2024 Fellow Emma Taggart who has been shortlisted for Young Journalist of the Year at the the Scottish Press Awards.

Emma is currently a graduate business reporter for The Times. Her mentor is Sabah Meddings, who covers business for Bloomberg.

Current Senior Fellow and 2023 Fellow Sophia Hall spoke at the recent #MediaStrong conference in London, to talk about her Churchill Fellowship research – which is focused on the development of a toolkit for journalists working with care experienced people, and a toolkit for care experienced people to use when working with the media.

Commenting on her presentation on LinkedIn, Sophia said, “before I became a journalist, I was an interviewee. My first experience of the industry wasn’t working for a university magazine or in a local newsroom. It was by being a ‘case study’, a ‘human interest piece’, a ’lived experience line’. In the late 2010s, I was a fresh-faced care leaver with a strong social media presence, so journalists often slid into my DMs asking for quotes, comments and interviews about one of the most turbulent periods of my life – my time in foster care.

“I used my allotted time last Friday to give a small amount of insight into what it’s like to be sat on the other side of the table. To be the one answering the questions, choosing an interview outfit, worrying about what I said to the journalist, worrying what I didn’t say to the journalist, refreshing the online site to see if my article was up, trying to figure out which of my local shops sold newspapers, and so many other feelings that we can forget about when we’re writing/producing/editing multiple stories a day.”

Photo of Patricia Clarke

2021 Fellow Patricia Clarke and her team have won the ‘Audio Journalism of the Year’ award at the Harold Wincott Awards.

The podcast Patricia worked on for Tortoise Media, ‘Helen vs Sam,’ tells the story of the battle over the future of Open AI, and was described by judges as ‘outstanding… and entertaining.’

2024 Student Fellow Flora Masika has joined ITV on a traineeship.

She will work with the Unscripted development team, where she’ll learn about creating documentaries and reality TV.

Flora is a student at London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London and is mentored this year by BBC journalist Jonelle Awomoyi.

2024 Student Fellow Jamie Smith-Maillet has won ‘Best Use of Multi Media’ at the Herald Scotland’s Student Press Awards.

Jamie won the award jointly with his colleague Stuart Moyes, for co-producing, hosting and publishing ‘Globe Unpacked‘, a bi-monthly international affairs podcast, whilst both were at Edinburgh Napier University.

Jamie commented on a busy couple of weeks, saying it has been “exciting, daunting, thrilling. It’s been a whirlwind tour for someone that wee bit older on a career-change that so many have called ‘brave.’ He thanked his “talented and supportive” mentor, the BBC’s Rich Preston.

2022 Fellow Ellis Palmer has started presenting on ‘The Catch Up’ which is broadcast on both BBC Three and BBC News.

Announcing this on social media, Ellis said: “as a disabled person growing up, there was a shortage of visibly disabled people on-screen, so I’m very excited for this opportunity!”

2022 Fellow Merlyn Thomas’ investigation into deaths surrounding a ‘future city’ in Saudi Arabia has led to the Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden raising the issue on a diplomatic trip in Saudi Arabia.

The BBC investigation raised questions about the treatment of workers for the Neom project.

Merlyn is part of the BBC’s Verify team.

2022 Fellow Brandon Cook is set to leave his role as a presenter and achor at STV News, after almost five years.

Brandon announced the news on X, saying, “I’ve had the most incredible 4 & a half years – lived my dream – covered hundreds of stories of all genres (around 500!) – thank you to everyone who trusted me to tell theirs. It’s time for a new challenge … one I’m looking forward to.”

We wish Brandon the best of luck on his next career move.

2024 Fellow Will Neal is on the ground in Georgia covering the spiralling political crisis prompted by the ruling party’s attempts to pass a law on ‘foreign influence’, decried by critics as an analogue of measures used to crush dissent by the Putin regime.

“The international community is finally waking up to the gravity of what’s been happening in Georgia since the invasion of Ukraine began,” Will says. “It’s an honour to be working with local colleagues to ensure these stories reach a wider audience – so many people here feel their situation has for too long been eclipsed by other events in the region.”

More on the story can be read here.

Kirstie O'Mahony

2021 mentee Kirstie O’Mahony has worked as an Assistant Producer on BBC Newsround’s newest documentary special, No Place To Call Home.

With the numbers of children in temporary accommodation the highest they’ve ever been in some parts of the UK, the programme tells the story of children around the country who are experiencing it now, and how it’s impacted their lives.

Kirstie said, “this is the most important piece of work I’ve ever been a part of. I’m incredibly proud of the programme, and the amazing kids we spoke to for it. Above all, I really hope it helps other children who might be going through similar things feel seen.”

You can watch ‘No Place To Call Home’ on iPlayer.

Big congratulations to 2020 Fellow Rochelle Newman who has won a BAFTA for her documentary ‘White Nanny Black Child,’ shown on Channel 5.

The film won in the ‘Specialist Factual’ category. It told the story of Nigerian children fostered by white families in the 1970’s and revealed the heartfelt impact of their challenging upbringing.

Rochelle said, “it’s a surreal moment that I will remember forever. Our feature-length film […] is a true testament to how storytelling can change lives and impact the world. I am truly grateful to work with director Andy Mundy-Castle, the crew, and thankful to the contributors for sharing their stories with us. I look forward to making more inspirational documentaries filled with love and purpose.”

Rochelle also thanked her 2020 mentor Mark Daly, saying “I am and always will be extremely grateful for the opportunity to learn from the best.”

2023 Student Fellow Ciaran Foreman has won ‘Sports Writer of the Year’ at The Herald’s Student Press Awards for his work on ‘Scot Shot.’

Commenting on his win on X, he said, “It was a great night, and I’m so pleased I was able to contribute to the successes of fellow Napier students.”

Nicola Keaney

Current Senior Fellow and 2017 Fellow Nic Keaney has joined The Daily Mirror (Reach PLC) as their Audience and Content Director.

It marks a new chapter for the Daily Mirror, who have a new editor, Caroline Waterson, and revamped leadership team. Nic commented, “with a legacy of impactful journalism and historic campaigns, I look forward to working with the talented senior team to showcase and amplify the best of the Mirror’s print and original online content.”

She has left her role as Managing Editor at PinkNews.

2024 Student Fellow James Bessant Davies has been working on a project with the Dallas Street Choir, and the Choir with No Name in Cardiff.

The resulting article discusses community, homelessness and the power of music- and runs alongside an eight-minute video he made. It was published by the new Welsh publication Cwlwm and you can read it here.

James is mentored by BBC Wales’ Hywel Griffith.