'Being recognised as a key-worker has really made me realise that my job is important'


An early-career Birmingham journalist has explained why she feels prouder than ever to be working amidst the coronavirus crisis.

25 year-old Laura Sanders graduated in January and has been working as a freelance broadcast and mobile journalist with radio stations across the region, including Free Radio, BBC WM and BBC Coventry & Warwickshire.

“I felt so proud when journalists and broadcasters were listed as key-workers by the government,” explained Laura, who hails from Sutton Coldfield.

School of Media

Birmingham City University

“I think there are times when people don’t want to consume the news, with an idea that journalists just ‘stir stuff up’ or don’t represent them, but coronavirus is impacting everybody and now more than ever, people turn to us as the reliable source of information.

“Being recognised as a key-worker by the government has made me realise that my job is important. I might not be a nurse, but I am informing people, holding power to account and entertaining people with the lighter stories.

Laura studied in Liverpool for three years for her undergraduate degree in English, before studying for an MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism at Birmingham City University.

“As an early-career journalist, it’s been a whirlwind of emotions covering coronavirus stories for the people of the West Midlands,” added Laura.

“As well as feeling proud, I’ve had moments where I’ve felt sad, drained and frustrated at the whole situation. I’ve interviewed health workers who really are on the frontline, whilst I’m sat in the safety of my own home reporting it. I’m sat in my kitchen interviewing two or three people a day and I can still feel isolated and lonely. My favourite part of being a reporter is going out and meeting the people in the story. However, I’m glad we have the technology to keep us safe and continuing to support people with the information we provide.”

Recently Laura secured an exclusive interview with an officer in the Navy, who spends months at a time in a submarine and shared insights on coping with isolation.

“I’ve interviewed war veterans on how the current situation resembles the Second World War too,” added Laura.

“I’m not covering hard-hitting national news, just yet, but these local stories have kept people in the West Midlands informed, feeling involved and represented in their local news, and smiling as we all work our way through this.”

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