Archive for April 15th, 2008


Does your skin colour define you?

What’s behaving ‘white’? What’s behaving ‘black’? You were asking this again and again yesterday and this being a programme where you guide the agenda, we’re going to discuss it today.

If you’re white, what does it mean to be white? If you’re black, what does it mean to be black? And if you’re anywhere in between, how does your skin colour affect how you define yourself, and others define you?
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Is aspiration bringing us down?

There was an interesting report published last week by Pew Research. It’s about America, but I wonder if it might apply around the world. The gist of the findings were that fewer middle-class Americans feel their life is ‘moving forward’ than in the past 50 years. And one of the causes of this is that they cannot afford the lifestyle they would like to lead. Does that sound familiar?
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Is it soon time for Hillary to quit?

With less than a week to go until the Pennsylvania primary, should Hillary Clinton be thinking about throwing the towel in some time soon in her race for the US presidency? Even if she wins Pennsylvania, she’ll still be behind Barack Obama in terms of popular vote, number of states won and crucially delegates.
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Who are we?

The whole team after the Washington broadcast in March 2006We’ve been discussing how we could tell you a little more about ourselves. Not because we think you’ll be interested in what music we like or where we like to go on holiday, but because we’d like to be as open with you as possible about who we are and what we’re bringing to the programme.

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Ros Atkins

Ros with WHYS listener Jared in Kampala, UgandaHi. I’ve been presenting WHYS since it started, first as a cover presenter and then as a fixture when Steve and then Anu moved on. Before joining WHYS full-time, I was also presenting The World Today and The Ticket on the BBC World Service and Up All Night on BBC Radio Five Live. That was always covering for colleagues though so it was a huge thrill when Mark offered me a regular gig.

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The ones that got away

They loved us and left us. At least, most of them loved us. But they’ve all gone, and each one played a part in making WHYS what it is. So thank you all.


Heba Ayoub
Heba was officially with us for three months but i’s actually been much longer than that as she as right at the top of the freelancer list we use to book production cover. She did a brilliant job on trips to Florida, Copenhagen and Cornwall. No sooner had her contract finished at WHYS she landed a job on the Today programme – which is probably the BBC’s best known radio news show. None of us were surprised. Let’s hope she remembers us when surrounded by the bright lights…

Madeleine Morris
She presented, produced and edited and it was never going to be too long before she flew the WHYS nest. She’s one of the BBC’s reporters in Washington at the moment, and will be a superstar correspondent before long we suspect.

Shaimaa Khalil
Shaimaa was become a BBC ‘path-finder’. And no that isn’t a role which involves scouting. In fact, it’s a very prestigious scheme set up to fast-track talented producers. Those of us who worked with Shaimaa can vouch that she’s definitely one of those.

Claudia Bradshaw
Claudia was a WHYS producer for most of 2009. She was brilliant and played a key role in developing WHYS on TV. Also if you enjoyed any of our shows in Rwanda or Oregon, they’d not have sounded as they did without her hard work. A tthe time of writing, she’s not made up mind what the next move is, but I’m sure she’ll let us all know when she does.

Tom Hagler
We only ever had half of Tom’s time as he and Madeleine split their shifts between us and The World Today. Now he’s going back the WT full-time and Madeleine’s staying with us. Only time will tell who’s come out of this one smiling. If you want to hear him, your best bet is weekdays between 0500-0700GMT.

Kate McGough
Kate arrived from the north-east of England and kept on moving almost as soon as she’d arrived. She’s now working at the BBC’s user generated content hub. If you post a message on the Have Your Say pages of BBC News Online, there’s a decent chance Kate will see it.

Peter van Dyk
Pete was there at the start and until recently it looked like he might be here forever. But the pull of the pleasures of life in Moscow proved too much. I’m not sure if he’ll be coming back to carry on as a producer but last time I asked it seemed pretty unlikely. Which is good for Russia and not so great for WHYS.

Iain Croft
He wasn’t with us very long and aside from being the man with the best contacts book, he’ll also be remembered as putting together our Sony Award entry. And as we got a nomination, he’s got a lot of brownie points stored up. Iain is now working for BBC News over at Television Centre.

Ben Tobias
Ben came from the BBC’s Russian Service and left for Moscow. In theory he’ll be returning to Bush House but as every day brought multiple mentions of the big bear to the East, we’re expecting him to stay.

Martin Vennard
Pull up a chair and he’ll tell you about Ghana. A veteran of WHYS trips to Takoradi and Namibia, sadly for us Martin got a promotion and headed for the Newsroom. That said he takes lots of extra shifts here so he’s still working on the show quite a lot.

Rabiya Limbaba
Plenty of us have come from Five Live, but Rabiya has gone in the other direction. She’s swapped with Chloe and is going to be over there for a few months. Beyond that we’re not sure. She helped launch WHYS in 2005, and proved herself adept at both production and maintaining her good looks. If we felt scruffy normally, we felt scruffier in Rabiya’s presence.

Fiona Crack
She’s was the last to move on of the original team of producers who launched WHYS in 2005 (although Peter is back after six months in the BBC’s Washington bureau). Fiona produced shows in India, South Africa, the States and the UK. She’s now in charge of ‘big bids’ for World Service News so she’s chasing very important people all day long – a far cry from dealing with us lot. She’s definitely gone until the end of 2008, but we’re she might return after that. Fingers crossed.

James Harrod
James arrived from BBC World TV on a swap with Richard. A nice idea which backfired on us somewhat when Richard decided to stay and James decided to go back. Was it something we said? Known for his passion and off-agenda ideas, the office has been lacking in fury and light Friday stories since James moved on. Quite rightly, many a listener has asked where he is since he’s stopped reading emails on air. BBC World and BBC4 is the answer.

Anu Anand
Anu’s was the first voice we all heard on WHYS back on October 31 2005 and for most of our first two years she was a regular host of the show. So it was with heavy hearts that we heard that Anu had decided to leave the BBC and head for Delhi. She was at the heart of the show and it doesn’t seem right that we don’t hear her on air anymore. Come back soon Anu.

Leonardo Rocha
One minute he was here and then our resident Brazilian was gone. He arrived from The World Today and has now been summoned to the BBC World Service Newsroom where they welcomed him with four night shifts. Now he’s gone, who will arrange for ‘urbanists’ from Sao Paolo to join the show? The answer is probably no-one.

Richard Bowen
The man from Birmingham steered the show through some tough terrain including Amsterdam in torrential rain and Issa’s house in Kampala with no electricity or water. He was a listener favourite when reading your messages on air, with emails still arriving asking where he’s gone. You’ll find him producing at BBC World television.

David Mazower
Another member of the launch team, the man they called ‘The Moisturizer’ left us light on male grooming when he moved on to Newshour . Famed for an enthusiasm classical music, dense Middle East stories and printing out articles and putting them on a large unread pile, he did manage to clear out his “archive” before moving across the office to a desk nearer the editor’s office.

Anna Stewart
She came for six months, stayed for a year, we’d hoped she could stay longer still but she’s headed back to BBC Radio Five Live from where she’d come. Anna’s now a producer on the Eamonn Holmes show.

Vicki Harrison
Vicki’s moments on WHYS were fleeting. She arrived went on our big Africa trip in May 07 and promptly got a promotion and moved to The World Today. But she didn’t stop there, she then landed a top job in the Amnesty International press office and that’s where you’ll find her now.

Paul Coletti
Never a fully signed up member of the WHYS team, Paul was booked as a freelancer so often it just felt that way. He was known briefly as Rocky Blogboa, before we realised we could only take the Sly comparisons so far. The World Today then made an honest man of him and offered a contract, so he’s there at the moment working as a producer.

Kevin Anderson
He was the man from Illinois who showed WHYS the way on blogging. Sadly for us, the Guardian wanted a piece of the Anderson pie and Kevin’s now head of blogs there.

Steve Richards
Steve was another one of the “originals”. He saw the show through its first three months, presenting every Tuesday and Friday. You can still read him in The Independent and, if you’re in the UK, watch him on GMTV every Sunday.


Talking Points 15 April

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party the MDC has called on workers in the country to strike, to stay away from work – in protest into the delayed announcement of the election results..This past weekend saw the meeting of Southern African leaders with South Africa’s president Thabo Mbeki saying – ” There is no crisis in Zimbabwe”. Why will nobody stick up for Democracy in Zimbabwe? 

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