My Mentor: Sarah Mukherjee on Stephen Mitchell
'If he can't help, he won't say he will and then spend six months trying to avoid you'
Monday 21 April 2008
I first met Steve Mitchell when I left local radio and started working for a little- known but vital part of the BBC called GNS, the General News Service, and he was my boss's boss. It supplies all the national and international news to the BBC's network of local radio stations. The combined audience is huge and tends to be the people the BBC is often accused of ignoring – those on lower incomes, the elderly, people living in rural areas. GNS reporters break national and international stories, produce great original journalism and are well-known names outside the M25. However, they're unknown within TV Centre. And if people don't know your work, they don't trust your editorial judgement. And, more importantly, don't give you a job. We used to call it the "Hotel California".
During the BSE Inquiry in 1998, it struck me that every local radio station either had a victim of vCJD on their patch, or a farmer who'd been affected by the agricultural melt-down surrounding the disease. The demand for material from local radio stations was massive, and with the contacts and experience I gained in providing it, I ended up developing a rural affairs and environment specialism within the department in the years that followed. Armed with specialist knowledge, I started applying again for national news jobs. Problem was, still, no one knew who the hell I was. However, Steve did, and I have him to thank for his advice and support in making the jump to network correspondent. He has always been honest and frank; if he can't help, he won't say he will and then spend the next six months trying to avoid you. At the same time, he will always give constructive advice. He's the one I ask for advice when I have really big stories, as I know he will cast his experienced eye over it, and treat it on its merits. He's always courteous and considerate, and I wouldn't be doing this job if it wasn't for him.
Sarah Mukherjee is the BBC Environment Correspondent. Stephen Mitchell is the head of BBC Radio News
Jeremy Paxman reveals he has heard senior Tories calling activists 'swivel-eyed loons'
Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
Strewth mate. Aussies wave goodbye to Britain as it becomes too pricey to stay
X marks the spot: The find that could rewrite Australian history
'There are empty spaces where there used to be living rooms, bedrooms, classrooms': President Barack Obama says America is praying for Oklahoma in wake of tornado that claimed 91 lives
- 1 'He was lucky he didn't die' - George Michael fell out of speeding car onto M1 motorway, according to eye witness
- 2 Austerity has hardened the nation's heart
- 3 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 4 Why Arsène Wenger must spend to put icing on the cake and buy likes of Stevan Jovetic for Arsenal
- 5 'It was just like the movie Twister': Man survives Oklahoma tornado by taking refuge in horse stall
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£35000 - £45000 per annum + Bens: Progressive Recruitment: Drupal/PHP Develope...
Travel and lunch expenses: ESI Media: Rare work experience opportunity for asp...
£28000 - £36000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...
£350 - £400 per day: Progressive Recruitment: Agile Java Developer London