From Emmerdale to radio news, writer says: it’s all just story telling

Nich Ahad - BBC Radio Leeds presenter

Nich Ahad – BBC Radio Leeds presenter

Young journalists were today advised to ignore parents who say just ‘try your hardest’ – but to go out and make sure you get the story with no excuses.

BBC Radio Leeds presenter , screenwriter and journalist Nick Ahad told students that his first editor taught him an ‘important lesson’.

He explained one of his first assignments at a local paper was to get an interview with a police officer who convinced a suicidal woman down off a ledge.

“I’d been in Wiltshire for four days, no one knew who I was, no one would speak to me, eventually I admitted defeat. I went to the editor and said I’m really sorry I’ve done my best but I can’t get the interview. My mum and dad used to say you can only do your best, but that’s bull****, don’t try your best. Get the story.There are no excuses. That’s what I got told!”

The former arts editor at The Yorkshire Post, who also script writes for Emmerdale said: “That’s what we are, we’re story tellers, our job is to find much better stories than anybody else. If you want to be famous go on Big Brother or something.”

Nick, 37, told journalism students that research is not the most important thing: “I think we can get hung up sometimes on knowing what the story is before we meet people. Do your research, but then put it in your back pocket. And really listen to what the person is saying.”

Nick now has his own Saturday morning show on BBC Radio Leeds and admitted to students that it takes a lot of preparation to make his show sound so chaotic but it’s his clumsy way with callers that gets them to open up.
Nick said: “My 15 years of experience interviewing people means they never see me coming.”
Nick expressed his enthusiasm for the all-consuming job saying he now has “what you might call a portfolio career.”
He says that job satisfaction in journalism doesn’t necessarily have to, but can often come at the expense of your personal life.
“People ask me how I do it all and I just don’t understand the question – I do it all because I love what I do. Over the years I juggled being a news reporter, and editing the arts magazine for free, just because there’s where I wanted to be. Then I started presenting a show on BBC Radio Leeds, which I volunteered to do for free. Some people couldn’t understand it, sometimes I’d be presenting on a morning, running home for a Yorkshire Post deadline then running back to the studio. But it got me where I want to be. The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

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