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Vicky Breakwell. BBC. Former Midlands Regional Head of News at Bauer Media.
Vicky Breakwell is the Former Midlands Regional Head of News Bauer Media and has now moved to the BBC. Vicky has years of experience with regards to demos from broadcast journalists. We asked Vicky what she looks for in a demo and what impresses her. Read what Vicky had to say.
Listen to the station you are applying to, it’s no good sending me a 4 minute package you did for a BBC station if you want to read news bulletins on a commercial station! The style of the demo should show that you can deliver news in the style of the station you are applying to.
Find out the name of the news editor & address your demo to them personally. It takes just a couple of minutes to call a radio station and get the info you need. A letter addressed ‘dear Sir/Madam’ or worse ‘To whom it may concern’ just suggests you can’t be bothered to do some basic research. (Even worse if you are replying to a job advert which has actually given the editors name!)
Send a professional quality recording, not something you’ve done with a dictaphone in your bedroom.
When replying to job adverts read what they’re asking for – don’t send a 5 minute documentary if they’ve asked for a 3 minute bulletin, don’t send a compilation of links of you presenting your student radio show if you’re applying for a journalism position, don’t send a demo of you reading out sports results if you want to be a news reader, and if you are applying for a radio job don’t send a hyperlink to a show reel of your TV work.
If you don’t get the job politely ask for feedback on how you could improve your demo and NEVER send exactly the same demo back to the same person when they advertise another position.
When sending a demo on spec for freelance work – observe points one & two above, tailor your style to the style of the station & get the contact details for the News Ed so you know it goes straight to them.
They probably won’t reply straight away – be persistent but don’t be a pest! Offer to do a couple of shifts unpaid so they can see how you fit in and so you can get to know their systems.
Ask about opportunities for work experience – almost every great journo I know & work with got their first job as a result of a strong work placement which led to them being offered freelance work & eventually a full time job.