Leading BBC and Panorama reporter Richard Bilton visited York College to talk to the Sirius Group about his career, providing a fascinating insight into the life of a high profile television journalist/reporter.
Richard shared his experiences, engaging students in his passionate storytelling and answering questions about his education, his working life and his thoughts on television reporting today. He spoke about the educational journey many television reporters take, noting that the majority are former Oxbridge graduates, whereas he was educated at Birmingham Polytechnic. Richard strongly believes that the BBC should employ reporters from all educational backgrounds, to reflect society as a whole, saying; “I feel that the people who watch the programmes should be like the people reporting the stories.”
Richard began his career in local radio, progressing to Look North and then became a leading BBC News reporter, working on national news and the Panorama programme. Currently he works as a freelance reporter and is often contacted to report on major news stories for national BBC news and full-scale BBC Panorama documentaries. He has covered national stories such as the Horsemeat Scandal, the Madeline McCann case and exposing Amazon, for Panorama.
Richard said: “If I know something then I tell it, as long as it is legal. There are so many bad things you can see and I have a duty to report stories fairly and accurately. A story is a story and as long as I tell it properly I cannot think about what happens next. I have to be fair and I have to put things in context and say what I think, so I get the facts and tell it as I see it.”
The Sirius Group develops students’ higher level skills and A Level student, Jess Lister (formerly of Howden School) commented: “Richard’s talk was so interesting. He told us things you wouldn’t usually find out about journalism and television reporting.”
Said AS Level student Cody Dahler (International student) is hoping to be a journalist, he said: “This kind of information is priceless, his talk was informative to say the least. It was great to get first-hand advice, giving me a good feel for what the job entails. I really enjoyed listening to Richard and having the opportunity to ask questions.”