Students told “Don’t be afraid of emotion”



By Grace Harrison

Laura Pennington, Chief reporter for the Bauer radio group in Yorkshire told Leeds Trinity students not to be afraid of becoming emotionally involved in a story as long as you don’t allow your judgement to be clouded.

Her comments came after she had played an award-winning radio documentary she produced for Hallam FM about the rise in prostitution in Doncaster.

She said: “Some journalists have to completely detach themselves and that’s how they cope with it.

“For me, as we are human, we have to have a human conversation.

“They’re confiding in you, they’re trusting you to tell their story.”

She added that she believes you can’t ask the right questions to your interviewees without having some kind of emotional involvement in their story.

Laura, who graduated from Leeds Trinity University in 2011, spoke of her feelings when she met a sex worker who was kidnapped and raped whilst working as a prostitute.

“I was just thinking this is so alien and you can’t help but feel something, so yes I think you should be emotionally involved.

“You forget how much of a big deal it is to someone to be talking to not only a journalist but the thousands of listeners listening that you’re broadcasting their story to as well.

“I think you need to show them the respect and sensitivity that they deserve and then you can tell the story in the most engaging way possible.”

Laura said that looking back she felt she had at times been naïve in the way she approached stories like the prostitution documentary.

“Sometimes you don’t tend to think about the situations you’re putting yourself in.

“You reflect afterwards about what may have happened but fortunately as of yet, nothing bad has happened to me.”




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