MediaCityUK

The project will first be rolled out to Salford, location of the BBC's MediaCityUK, on 28 February.

Credit:
Media CityUK, Footbridge and BBC Buildings (David Dixon) / CC BY-SA 2.0
The BBC is to roll out its community reporters project, which aims to get those keen to work in the industry to bring forward local stories in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics, to two more UK cities this year.

The scheme is one of three "legacy projects" being run by the broadcaster in light of the London games, which also include London Apprentices and the BBC 2012 Work Experience project.

The community reporters project, which is centred around 2012 and the run-up to the Olympic games, aims to work with people "who are passionate about news", offering mentors to each successful reporter and six weeks of one-day training before a production week where they get the chance to pitch to editors for broadcast on television, radio and online publication.

Launched last year in London with 17 trainees, the project will now be rolled out to Salford, the location of the BBC's MediaCityUK, on 28 February and Glasgow at BBC Scotland on 9 May.

Manager of the project Deena Saeed told Journalism.co.uk the project will also be adapted to run with some of the language services of the World Service.

She said during training the candidates are asked to "draw on the experiences of their communities to perhaps tell stories BBC journalists couldn't naturally find."

The broadcaster recruits through community groups, such as those working in community radio, and Saeed added that the BBC is looking for "people who are good storytellers or interested in journalism but haven't found a way into the industry yet".

"The scheme is about building their confidence, getting them inside the BBC and having sessions on various areas in journalism.

"We're looking for people with that interest, who can demonstrate an interest in media by being part of community radio groups, or making films in their spare time... we're just looking for that spark and then we can help develop the rest."

She added that after training they will then be able to take their honed skillset back to their community groups and use it to help them gain further opportunities with other media.

Some of the projects produced by trainees on the London project were also published online, including one on West Ham Boys Boxing Club, and another on "gang rivalry".

The journalist mentors have also been "really pleased" with the work of the trainees, she added.

"Part of the mentoring is not only that you can impart your knowledge to someone else, but you can perhaps learn a little bit back from the person you're mentoring."

It offers a "fresh approach to a story, a fresh approach to what's going on now", she said.

"Trainees come in with great ideas, they just need to be moulded a little bit with the help of BBC mentors. It's been a really good partnership in terms of learning from each other."

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