I have been fortunate enough to do work at both BBC Newsbeat and BBC World Service over the past few months and it's been a truly valuable experience.
BBC Newsbeat had a structured work placement programme, which only lasts for two days! The first day is spent as a pro-longed meet-and-greet. You spend about 15 minutes with each member of the team to find out more about what they do and ask any questions you may have.
The second day, well there isn't that much to do, because you haven't been there long enough for them to entrust you with anything, nor will you be there long enough for them to want to bother giving you anything.
You really have to take things into your own hands, and by that I mean come in armed with a story idea that's aimed at their audience that you could easily follow up with and write for their website. You'll have the chance to pitch it during their morning meeting, which is what I did, and spent half the day writing up this lovely article on the BBC Newsbeat website here (alternatively you can google search BBC Newsbeat Simisola), and the other half lurking behind people like a predator.
BBC Focus on Africa
The few weeks I spent here can be summed up in one word - fantastic.
Like any other placement, it does take a bit of a push and shove to get them to give you stuff to do, and you really have to be proactive, but once that's out of the way, and they trust you, it's a breeze. I enjoyed waking up and making my way to work everyday, including the fact that I only had to get there at 10am, which means leaving my house at 9am, which means waking up at 8am, which was like heaven for me during that time.
As far as I can remember, I'd say the first point of "proving myself" would be the day after the Brussels attacks, when I managed to get someone from Molenbeek - the town where the attackers were from - to give us an exclusive interview. This was just after it was announced that one of the Paris attackers had been hiding and was arrested in that same town. The person I got was also Muslim and of Moroccan descent, which tied in perfectly to what they described in the morning editorial meeting - though I didn't mention anything then, I wanted to make sure I had this in the bag and that my friend would pull through for me, which they did (huge shoutout!) An added bonus was that the guy I got was childhood acquaintances with one of the Brussels attackers - grew up and schooled on the same street, etc.
I later walked up to the main producer and told her I had someone, making sure the Editor could overhear, of course.
Another thing that took place that also helped was being asked to secure an interview with one of Congo-Brazzaville's opposition leaders, following the announcement of the elections results, which everyone some people considered fraudulent. Of course, I had to try to get the big fish, the runner-up or leading opposition candidate, which I did, with two phone calls, some attempts at French and a bit of Google Translate. He exclusively announced on the show that he was taking the winning candidate to court with "proof" of the rigged election.
Thereafter, I secured an interview with Cheya Savimbi, son of Angolan war lord Jonas Savimbi (Google him), following their case against the Call of Duty game makers' alleged defamation of their deceased father, was thrown out of French court.
Again, I had to flex those French muscles, and here we are.
For the head of the programme to walk over to my desk, lil' work placement me, to tell me I'm doing a really good job and secured some really good interviews? I was humbled.
The Editor told anyone she could that I was, and I quote, "excellent" and that I could "get anyone you want". This lead to me spending a day with the Focus on Africa TV team (all this time I had been with radio, in case you didn't notice), and on that day, of course, I organised the only live guest for the 30-minute programme - an expert Tax Analyst (as requested by the Editor) in Kenya to weigh in on the Panama Papers leak.
All in all - great team and humbling experience. It's great trying out something and realising you really enjoy it and wouldn't mind doing it on a regular, long-term basis.
Oh, and in addition to producing stories and organising interviews, I also got to write a bit of the presenter's script and do some voice-overs, which was cool too.
Listen to BBC Focus on Africa here aired on the BBC World Service every day at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm GMT. The World Service now has 308 million listeners per week!