Newsround’s Ricky Boleto regularly makes sense of tough stories for CBBC but is shocked that his garden shed has gone viral.
I think it’s fair to say that reporting for Newsround is a job like no other in journalism. I know John Craven and all those who’ve followed in his footsteps would agree. This week alone, I’ve gone from explaining the situation in Myanmar to revealing which celebrity was behind the sausage costume on ITV’s The Masked Singer. In case you were wondering, it was Joss Stone… all in a day’s work for a Newsround presenter.
The week starts with a short walk to the end of the garden. I’m currently working from home and, like so many of us, I’ve become accustomed to this ultra-short commute.
Over Christmas, I converted a garden shed into a “state of the art” home studio. It’s got lights, a TV monitor, various tripods, cameras… the works. Getting reliable internet to the back of the garden was tricky and it is ice cold first thing in the morning.
It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make, because having this home studio means I can continue to work for Newsround without having to travel to the studio in MediaCity UK in Salford.
It has also brightened up all those Zoom meetings where, instead of sitting in front of yet another bookshelf, I’m sat in my shed.
I’m a bit overwhelmed by the amount of interest there is in my shed. I shared a picture of the renovations on social media and it’s gone viral. I’ve had messages from shed lovers all over the world… it has also made it on to the BBC News homepage – this is ridiculous.
I suppose we’ve all had to adapt one way or another over the past year when it comes to how we work, and it seems my shed has caught everyone’s imagination.
The BBC’s brilliant tech correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, has been in touch and asked me if I can sort out his working from home set-up, which is covered in wires and extension leads. I’ll be over as
soon as I can Rory!
Back to the day job now, and it’s internet safety day, all beamed live on the CBBC channel from the CBBC studio – and with me in the infamous shed.
In the CBBC studio today is Hacker T Dog, Wigan’s answer to Edd the Duck and way funnier, too. Phil Fletcher is CBBC’s resident puppeteer. He has me in stitches whenever I get to work with him.
It’s still a bit mind boggling to see my shed on TV. My three-year-old is watching in our living room while I’m at the back of the garden. He gives me a massive hug when I return indoors.
The next day, I’m heading out to try and film a piece to camera for a report about cladding. We’re featuring two young children who live in flats that need to have it removed. Stories like this can be a challenge, especially when we have to refer to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, where 72 people lost their lives.
Newsround never shies away from reporting these kinds of stories, but we are mindful about the way we tell them.
Back on the box and back in the shed, this time for BBC Breakfast to talk about children’s mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It’s clear that each lockdown has brought different challenges for young people and I’ve been hearing about their struggles with home schooling and feelings around loneliness.
As restrictions start to ease, one thing that this lockdown has taught me is just how brilliant all my colleagues are. They’ve continued to get Newsround on air and online throughout the past year.
It’s heart-warming to get messages from our viewers, who say that we’ve been there for them and part of their daily routine, even when everything else has changed.
Ricky Boleto is a presenter on Newsround.