PressPad’s first intern: Jabir’s blog

Dear Diary,

I am Jabir Mustapha Sambo. 

In May 2018, I got a placement with the BBC in London for 2 weeks.


 Wondering where to stay in London, I got introduced to PRESS PAD by the BBC. Without hesitation,I got in touch with the organisation via email. I went through the criteria and subsequently applied for the accommodation and which was successful.

Back home in Aberdeen,I was preparing for my second trip to London. I got in touch with my Press Pad Mentor-Host, Blathnaid Healy, who is the head, CNN Digital at CNN London.This talented journalist worked with Mashable before joining CNN.Going through her very reach profile,I couldn’t wait to meet her.


But before Blathnaid returned from holiday, Olivia introduced me to another lovely family, Meirion and Kate Middleton, both investigative journalists with a very reach career. When I arrived at Greenwich train station, Meirion came and picked me and we talked briefly about my journey and weather in Scotland.


I met Kate at home who was visibly happy with my arrival.And while having dinner together, we discussed about Press Pad, the BBC and how journalism is rapidly going digital.As someone new in London, Meirion gave me a vivid route from Maze Hill station to Oxford Circus, where Broadcasting House is located.Before I left for the BBC the next morning, these couple with vast experience in journalism, gave me one piece of priceless advice – “don’t ever arrive late on your first day”.


I arrived at the BBC Broadcasting house at 12:00 pm where I was received by the head of the BBC Hausa service, Mr Jimeh Saleh, a veteran journalist with decades of experience. I toured the gigantic building, before I finally settled at my base-BBC Hausa service.Being a broadcast journalist for more than seven years,I am not new to editorial and post-mortem meetings.


What’s new for me is working in a huge international media house like the BBC.I was on 1pm to 9pm shift, which include working with both Radio and Television teams.As expected,I noticed some differences ranging from new facilities and latest technology, to team work and high level of professionalism.


Two days later, my Mentor-Host (Blathnaid Healy) came back and it is time for me to move to Westminster from Greenwich. I bade Kate and Meirion goodbye and joined Blathnaid and Eoin, a lovely couple from Ireland. Blathnaid works with the CNN London while Eoin works at Amazon.


On weekends, we took our time discussing many issues including how online media is changing journalism, fake news and the challenges facing the profession in general.Then came a discussion about Press Pad.We talked about how important the initiative is to young and aspiring journalists like me, and what should be done to make the organisation more stronger than it is.


There she advised me on how to get the best out of the internship having London at my back.She even took me to a tour of the CNN London newsroom where I got to see the Cristiane Amanpour and Hala Gorani teams.She also toured me through the CNN digital base which she Chairs, where I met young and talented staff doing there job with passion and enthusiasm.My time at the BBC and the tour of the CNN gave me a clear picture of how the international media houses are using team work to achieve a greater result.


The first report I worked on with the BBC Hausa was an update on South African political game, when the former president Jacob Zuma returned to court in a corruption trial against him.I received hundred of positive comments shortly after the news from the listeners.I then realised how reach the BBC Hausa has become in terms of demographics.The station celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, having a weekly radio audience of 23 million and 1.5 million Facebook followers largely in West Africa and beyond.I also packaged a television report on Yemen crisis between Saudi coalition forces and Houthi rebels.The Hausa service contents are originated from London and Abuja,Nigeria.


I strongly believe that PressPad is the future of journalism for obvious reasons.

Instead of telling the world they’re ready, this group of talented journalists have been busy showing it.And so they deserve all kind of support and motivation to sustain the organisation.Their commitment to helping young and aspiring journalists like myself achieving their dreams is a clear demonstration of the unconditional love they have for the journalism profession.


As the first intern to be hosted by PressPad,I will forever remain indebted to the organisation.I hope that I will one day be a host/mentor to other future interns under PressPad


The story of my career would be incomplete without PressPad, who gave me this priceless opportunity to showcase my talent. I explored London, met my role models Lyse Doucet and Stephen Sucker, reported to millions of audiences in Africa, and ultimately signed a freelance contract with the BBC.

Jabir Mustapha Sambo


BBC Hausa