It’s 9:00am, my phone rings. “Hey, Shanequa, can you do a report about dog poo?” Yes, this is my life at CBBC Newsround. But it’s one of the reasons why I love it so much. I’m starting this week by putting on my pink glitter wellies and heading to my local park in Manchester to find as much dog poo as possible, to highlight the rise of mess in public places and speak to some kids who aren’t happy about it.
The accuracy of the fire was surprising,” was the laconic observation of Sky News camera operator Richie Mockler. He was explaining what happened when gunmen, thought to be a Russian sabotage and reconnaissance squad, ambushed Sky’s chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay and his team. They were driving in a rented Hyundai saloon car on a major road from Bucha to Kyiv, about 20 minutes from the centre of the capital.
I’m glad we decided Christmas should come early on ITV Daytime this year. It’s been another tough weekend for the nation, with Storm Arwen ripping through a large part of the country (and taking I’m a Celebrity… off air for the first time ever).
There’s also been a Saturday-evening address by the Prime Minister, setting out new measures to stop the Omicron variant overwhelming the NHS.
I still experience that “back to school” feeling in September, even though my daughters have long since finished their education. This year, it’s magnified as life starts returning to some kind of normal after months of Covid constraints.
I’ll be going to my first industry event for nearly two years, the RTS Convention in Cambridge. I’ve missed the buzz and energy of being in the same room with people, so I am feeling quite exhilarated.
This will be my third time presenting the Paralympics. I was a pundit for the BBC in Beijing. In 2012 and 2016, I was a presenter in London and Rio for Channel 4.
To prepare, I have been updating my knowledge of the athletes. I still play wheelchair basketball at club level. Quite a few of the players, such as Gaz Choudhry and Helen Freeman, who are in the national team, I know well. I trained some of them as they worked to get into the team.
The wonderful thing about juggling a tonne of jobs is that every day really is different. My week can swing between discussing a £3,000 Balenciaga coat that looks like a high-vis jacket on Loose Women to explaining the latest Covid infection rates on ITV News. Or travelling across the UK working on my latest long-form programme.
Many hats, many pies but – as my school form teacher would probably still agree – me keeping busy is the best way to stay out of trouble!
After eight months working across two productions for Zinc Media, it is officially my last day here. During my time at the company, I have produced Brook Lapping’s Ian Wright: Home Truths, a single documentary exploring the devastating impact of physical and psychological abuse in childhood, and two glitzy, feature-length episodes for Blakeway’s series about Hollywood in 1939. Cue the old adage: “no two days in TV are ever…”
April has been a strange month. It marks exactly 10 years of my career being a film critic – my first appearance was on Radio 1 on April Fools’ Day. My mum, who recorded it (old-school, on a cassette), plays it back to me down the phone and I sound so nervous as I chat to Greg James about why Jake Gyllenhaal’s Source Code was a pretty great film and why Sucker Punch, starring Vanessa Hudgens... was not.
I was still a student at Reading University but had been thrust into one of the most exciting jobs I could think of.
When I drove to Sussex University to start my BA journalism course in September 2018, in my mind’s eye I saw a heady montage of hypothetical events and experiences that would fill my three years in Brighton. My imagination did not stretch to wondering what it would be like to do half my degree during a pandemic.
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.