A year in as a trainee reporter
April 24, 2013, 9:38 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Well it was a year three weeks ago…

This year has been a whirlwind and I have learnt so much. I still love being a reporter and how every day is different. At the moment I feel like I am stalking the Mayor of Bracknell Forest as I have seen her about five times in six days.

Yesterday was a Royal visit with Prince Philip and tomorrow I will be reviewing up and coming band Peace at Sub 89.

Here are some features I have written lately:

Review: Blackeyed Theatre’s Teechers at South Hill Park

The Reduced Shakespeare Company bring shortened classics to South Hill Park

Amelia Lily gets ready to rock Reading

Restaurant review: Bhoj

And a selection of news stories

Smoke alarm saves family from dishwasher blaze

Raven Haven’s plea for funds to deal with influx of injured birds

In other news I am thinking of writing blog posts about my reduced section bargains and thinking about learning how to sew as a result of the Great British Sewing Bee. I also left an art exhibition last week armed with art materials – I can’t resist a bargain.


Interviews with Paloma Faith and Zoe Lyons and today’s paper

Most journalists love the variety of the job and I’m no exception. As I have mentioned before, working in the offices of the Reading Post means there’s loads of opportunities to write features.

Here’s my recent interview with Paloma Faith (felt quite star struck when I saw her on the Brits last night, just days after I spoke to her).

And then here’s a chat with the lovely Zoe Lyons, who brings her show to South Street Arts Centre in Reading tomorrow.

The 46th Bracknell Forest Standard I have worked on came out today. It was an issue fellow reporter Jennie and I were really proud of. We work well as a team, if I may say so myself!

We splashed on this fireworks story. A ridiculous tweak in the law means Bracknell fireworks firm Star Fireworks – who do displays for all the big names and celebs – could go bust.

We also did an online story after we noticed tweets about a certain celebrity spotted in Bracknell today. It resulted in me getting a tweet from MasterChef’s John Torode which I was pleased with. But I would have preferred it if Jon Snow had replied to my tweet I sent to him last night. (No offence John!)

We also got some saucy pics of some brave beauties who bared all in a naked calendar for charity – that should get people picking up a copy of the paper.

Today, I also went out on a police patrol and it was so cold my knuckles bled. But it was worth it to get some good video and coverage for next week’s paper.

Oh and finally our Reading web editor James stumbled across a video of pupils from Wellington College in Crowthorne doing the Harlem Shake here. Now Jennie is trying to persuade Bracknell Forest councillors to make a similar vid…or just me and her!

Night all.


Rave patrol news feature sparks fashion advice
February 4, 2013, 9:17 pm
Filed under: Journalism

Police hunt for illegal raves

Here is a video and report I did when I shadowed police on a rave patrol. Thankfully Hugh, our web editor, edited out my Blair Witch-esque close-up filming.

This report has triggered some fashion advice from one of our kindly commenters (they also love to slam food reviews which mention burgers).

Thankfully I am far more concerned about keeping warm and alive when it is snowing than worry about whether my high-vis jacket goes with my ‘lavender hat’ and ‘eau-de-nil scarf. Thanks though :).


Ten months as a trainee reporter
February 4, 2013, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Journalism

I can’t believe it has been more than a year since I finished my NCTJ and went straight into work experience at the Kentish Gazette, then three other papers before landing a job in Reading.

My first ten months on the Bracknell Forest Standard have been fast-paced, challenging and I have learnt loads – here are some stories I have written lately.

This story I found through my work Facebook account. I saw a post from a concerned mum and arranged to do a story about sex toys in Boots, which then got syndicated to the Mail Online. They used my article pretty much word for word and didn’t give me a byline, but I will take it as a compliment.

Another story found through Facebook – I have an account Becky Barnes Bracknell Standard so people know they can contact me, or who I am if I contact them.

Rescue dog reunited with owner – After the Dawn the raven escaped during a Metallica video shoot story arose from following up a simple tweet, I have always followed up tweets and this story was a follow up from a series of tweets about a missing dog.

This story is about hoax calls and includes a spotty bottom as a reason to call an ambulance.

Tributes to popular hot air balloon pilot who took his own life – after an inquest I did a bit of research and managed to get a tribute and pictures from friends, which always adds colour and humanity rather than just detailing the circumstances of someone’s death.

Tomorrow I am interviewing Paloma Faith for the Reading Post and this week I have written a lead for the Reading Post, which I have also sent to the Daily Mirror, as we are all the same company.

Will post it when it is up on Get Reading, and hopefully the Mirror Online!


The first thing I ever wrote
February 3, 2013, 9:33 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Well actually I lie, as my mum wrote it as I dictated it to her aged three or four… She found it written in a notepad while she was turning out her house. Thought I would share…

Once upon a time there was an ogre and next to the ogre’s castle there was a palace. In the palace there was a king and near the ogre’s house there was his dragons. So the dragons put their fire out. So but the ogre said ‘no’ to the dragons and when he went out his friend went home. But when they got home his house was gone and the dragons had gone home and to another country and they had taken the house with them.

Soon it was Christmas and they had lots of presents. The ogre was very excited and Father Christmas came. So he had none presents and he was very cross. So he went to bed. When he got up he found an egg under his bed and it had come from Father Christmas. So he went to bed again but in the morning he found he hadn’t done his prayers.

And then he went down for his breakfast and then he went back upstairs to get dressed, put his glasses on and then something awful happened. He had lost his new ball which Father Christmas had brought him. It was very spotty and he phoned the police to help him find it. Then he told the police that it was spotty.

Then he found that he had lost his glasses. He went back upstairs and looked under his bed. It was there and lots more things he hadn’t seen for a long time. And then he saw a boy and a girl. I’ll soon have them to eat he thought. But they ran away.

2012 in review
January 3, 2013, 9:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Top stories in November and December
December 27, 2012, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

I am battling flu which has kept me in bed for the past two days and this has given me time to think about my aspirations for the next year.

One of them will be to make my blog better but for now I thought I would update you on a few of the stories I have written since I last posted just over a month ago.

Underpass murder trial begins

Passer-by saw couple and heard screams from underpass

When I went to Windsor for a couple of inquests I noticed Darcey Bussell was signing books in Waterstones – so got her to comment on Bracknell’s Dani Harmer’s Strictly Come Dancing chances here.

Noticed this woman had died in the obits and remembered going to her house when she was about to be a Paralympic Torchbearer so wrote a tribute.

Brave security guards fight off bank robbers

Family want more awareness of IIH after death

Wellington College teacher’s posthumous hit

Nellie the missing chicken

Tree surgeon’s Christmas ruined

South Hill Park brings panto fun to children in need

This is a result of my Census 2011 number crunching!

Merry Christmas and a happy new year x