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Thursday, 18 May, 2000, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
Meet the reporters
CHRIS LEDGARD


Having found landscape gardening too cold, Chris began his career in journalism at BBC Radio Guernsey in 1993. Before long, he crossed the water to join Radio Cornwall, and from there found a job as Radio 5 Live's South West reporter, based in Plymouth.

Moving towards London at that rate, he would have arrived around 2020, but he managed to speed things up, and headed "upcountry" as they say in Cornwall in 1998. The new job - still at 5 Live - brought a diet of bigger stories, including Northern Ireland, Kosovo, the Middle East and the US elections.

Although Chris liked the "buzz" of predominantly live reporting, he says he's enjoying the challenge of producing recorded pieces for Radio 4, with the emphasis on balancing a variety of voices and points of view in a four or five minute item.

Away from the newsroom, he's coming to terms with giving up marathon-running as fatherhood looms. It's been made easier by the fact that after years of running in local races without success, he finally managed a win - a marathon in the Isles of Scilly! (There weren't many other competitors.)

Andrew Bomford

ANDREW BOMFORD

Andrew took a classic route into journalism: an English degree followed by a post-graduate journalism course. That led to his first job as a reporter for Piccadilly Radio in Manchester.

While working on a travel programme he arrived in Hong Kong and liked it so much he stayed for four years! This was at the time of the 1989 student protests in Beijing and he reported on the turmoil in Hong Kong and China.

In 1993 he returned to Britain, and worked as a reporter for Independent Radio News and its parent company ITN. Among the stories he covered was the Cromwell Street murders carried out by Fred and Rosemary West, and the subsequent trial of Rosemary West, for which he won two major awards at the International Radio Festival in New York.

He moved to the BBC as a general reporter in 1997 and to the World at One and PM two years later. He says: "I feel very lucky to be working on such great programmes. It is the perfect job for any reporter who loves making good radio."

HUGH SYKES

Hugh Sykes
Hugh's career began while he was still a student. In 1970, the BBC launched Radio Oxford and Hugh spent spare time and holidays reporting for the station. His first assignment was covering a charity pram race in Wantage, which he did from a bicycle.

He also worked as a reporter and producer for Britain's first legal commercial radio station, LBC, when it opened in 1973. He then spent four years as a TV reporter and presenter for Points West, the local edition of Nationwide. One of his assignments was the aftermath of the IRA bombing of Bristol in 1974.

Hugh has been a presenter of Today and PM on Radio Four, and of Outlook on the World Service. He has reported from Russia, Pakistan, the United States, France, Kazakhstan, Germany and Northern Ireland.

News stories Hugh has covered include the Operation Julie LSD trial in 1977, the Miners' Strike in 1984 (when he was attacked by flying pickets), and the annual Orange Order protest at Drumcree. He has taken a special interest in Northern Ireland since the ceasefires in 1994 and says he is constantly delighted by the warmth and generosity of almost everyone he meets there.

GILLIAN HARGREAVES

Gillian Hargreaves
Gillian joined the BBC as a trainee in 1992 and worked at Radio Devon, Radio Lancashire and Radio York during her training. Her first job was as local radio reporter in York.

A year later she transferred to the BBC Leeds newsroom in West Yorkshire, assigned the job of setting up an office in Wakefield. The south of the county became her patch until she returned to the main newsroom a year later to produce the Radio Leeds breakfast programme and read the daytime news bulletins.

In 1996 she crossed the Irish sea and joined BBC Northern Ireland. She arrived during the week of the Canary Warf bombing and the de facto collapse of the first IRA ceasefire. Gillian spent a year as a reporter on Good Morning Ulster before joining the television newsroom there.

Gillian moved to London in 1997 as duty editor for Five Live's breakfast programme. She says: "While I enjoyed making programmes, the pull of reporting proved strong and after a few years I joined World at One and PM as a reporter."

RICHARD MIRON

Richard Miron
Richard's first job was with the BBC as a trainee radio producer with children's and youth programmes, and he went on to work at the BBC World Service in news and current affairs.

His job has also allowed him to follow his other interest of Middle Eastern affairs. He spent a year in Egypt as a freelance journalist travelling widely throughout the country, and before joining PM he was based in Israel for five years as the reporter for a programme co-produced by the BBC World Service and American Radio.

During his time in the Middle East he witnessed many of the key events as he covered the highs and lows of the peace process. He won an American public Radio Award for his first-hand reporting of a triple-suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 1997.

Richard returned to London in January 2001 and shortly afterwards joined The World at One and PM programmes. "I greatly enjoy the unpredictability of the job", he says, "You never know from one day to the next know what you will be working on and where you might be".

TIM MABY

Tim Maby
Tim learnt his journalism from the war-time Editor of Picture Post, Tom Hopkinson, and got his nose for a story from a chequered early career in social work and the theatre. As a diplomat's son, growing up across the world, from China to the USA, he was weaned on politics and world affairs.

He joined the BBC in 1971 and during his long career, both in television and radio, he has reported from Europe, the USA and the Middle East, as well as from all round the British Isles. Among the most memorable stories he has been involved in were the Brixton and Broadwater Farm riots, the Penlee Life-boat disaster, the 80's miners and steel strikes, and from Afghanistan on the withdrawal of Russians forces.

He has worked full-time for World at One and PM for the past seven years, and says he enjoys the different experience of being in a creative team.

IAN PANNELL

Ian Panell
Ian graduated in English and History in 1989 and first ran a theatre company for a couple of years, writing, directing and performing various productions.

In 1991 he started freelancing for BBC Radio Leicester, and during the next three years moved from being a programme assistant, answering calls from phone-in listeners, to become a staff reporter covering a wide-range of stories, including the investigation and trial of the child sex-abuser, Frank Beck.

When Five Live was launched in 1994, Ian joined the station as a reporter, first for weekly programmes and then the award-winning Breakfast show. A year later he moved to Newsbeat on Radio1 where he was a reporter - covering among other things the trial of Louise Woodward - and a presenter of the network's news programmes.

Three years ago he joined PM and his reporting has taken him around the world, covering issues like the economic crisis in the Far East and the problems of post-Communist Russia. He was also one of the first reporters into Kosovo after the ousting of Slobodan Milosevic.

JON MANEL

Jon Manel
Since joining PM in 2000, Jon has reported on stories including the Hatfield Rail Crash and the fall of Yugoslavia's President Slobodan Milosovic - updating listeners as news came in from Belgrade.

For four years he was the BBC's reporter in west Wales. He says people asked him why he was going to such a "quiet patch" but the moment he arrived he was dispatched to a windswept cliff to report on the Sea Empess Oil disaster. Other stories included a scoop interview with a sixty year old mother who admitted lying to a fertility clinic to have her baby, and reporting from a hospital where a doctor had been taken hostage.

Jon originally joined the BBC as a trainee after presenting a news programme on independent radio and working as a football reporter. He's also worked for the BBC in Plymouth and as a sports news reporter in the South East of England.

He says: "Working as a PM reporter has already given me the opportunity to meet some remarkable people - like a man who's daughter was dying from CJD. He remained so strong despite the terrible strain he was under".

ANDREW NORTH


Andrew joined PM just before the 2001 general election, after a stint working for BBC World and News 24, its rolling television news channels.

Like many reporters, his first taste of journalism was on his student newspaper. There, he was variously a photographer, occasional writer, sub-editor and, when things got really tight, a runner to get late pages to the printers by train.

His first full-time job in journalism was as a sub-editor on the Geographical magazine. But he always wanted to work in news and after a spell freelancing for national newspapers, Andrew started doing shifts as a producer at BBC World Service.

That led to a contract with a programme World Service produces in America, in conjunction with its public radio network. In 1998, he moved to the programme's office in Boston and became one of its news reporters. When the Kosovo crisis broke out in 1999, he was sent to Albania to cover the refugee situation and then - as NATO troops took control - into Kosovo itself. After moving back to London, he continued working as a roving reporter for the programme - a job that took him to, amongst other places, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait and Pakistan.

Iran became a frequent stop - he made four reporting trips there. But it was not all hard news. He also found time to cover the growing popularity of skiing and climbing in Iran. It is of course pure coincidence that these are two of his favourite activities outside work.



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