Life at the BBC: Day 1

P1000268 - Version 2So, today was the day. I started my month at the BBC Radio 4 Science Unit, and will be working on the shows Science in Action (BBC World Service) and Inside Science (BBC Radio 4).

I was super excited to get stuck into things at the BBC today, and already I’ve got a few things on the go:

But first, a distinction I learned about today: Science and health are two entirely different things. Suzi Gage, someone who is also spending some time on a placement here at the beeb, discovered this. She considers herself a scientist, but as someone who does research into the effects of substance use on our mental health (translational epidemiology), her work comes under the banner of health rather than science. The  gets murkier: if there is something extremely “science-y” like the equipment used then it comes under science, rather than health… so it pays to know what the story is about (science or health) to know who to pitch it to.

I’m researching into the INTECOL conference which is happening in London next week which is exciting. It’s a big conference about ecology, biodiversity and conservation, and is happening all week long. I’m hoping to find some suitable stories for both Science in Action and Inside Science.

I’ve also started chasing up some leads on the “Show us your instrument” part of the Inside Science show. It’s definitely not how it sounds – this section wants to showcase the equipment that is used to make all the amazing scientific discoveries that science journalism covers everyday.

And finally, I had my first preparatory phone call for a potential interview to happen on Wednesday. We do a pre-interview to get the basics of the story, and get questions ready for the final interview which is recorded. It’s also a chance for us to get a good idea of how well the interviewee speaks – radio is all about the voice. So a good, clear speaking voice is always welcome. It’s also beneficial if you can speak fluently and without stumbling over your words (but this is also why the pre-interviews happen so the interviewee can practice!)

So far so good: met some lovely people, there are lots of things to do – it’s going to be a great month!

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