Whilst on placement with ICS, volunteers have the chance to put themselves forward as Restless Development Youth Reporters. Alongside their volunteer work, they capture stories of the people they meet whilst working in communities around the world! The role can be challenging with added responsibility to the workload already expected of volunteers, but the reward of helping someone tell their often inspirational story can be incredible.
If you are interested in the role but unsure where to start, here are some top tips from one of Restless Developments most successful Youth Reporters:
Never been a Youth Reporter before? It can be quite a daunting task. Back in April, I was selected to be a Youth Reporter for my ICS placement in Nepal with Restless Development. I had some experience in photography and video, but never in interviewing or writing. Everyone has different skills and experience, but these tips are very transferable and should help you out no matter how nervous you are!
1. Research and utilise tools
Read all of the leaflets, web articles, books and magazines that you are given, and go out and find your own too. There is so much information out there on conducting interviews, photography tips, videography, podcasting and more! Know anyone with a hobby or career in a similar field? Ask them for their tips. Utilise everything and everyone around you. The more prepared you feel, the more confidence you will have and this means more quality content you will create.
2. Clear communication and getting past language barriers
I couldn’t have reported as well as I did without my friend and fellow volunteer, Lila. Lila was a national volunteer from Nepal. She wasn’t my counterpart but Lila was placed in the same community as myself. She had a great passion for reading, art and writing. I decided to ask her if she wanted to become a youth reporter and work alongside me, and boy were we a great team.
Lila and I planned everything together and bounced ideas off of each other. She conducted the interviews in Nepali, and we worked together to translate them into English. Working with locals and national volunteers during your time as a youth reporter will be fun, mind opening and it will allow you to seek out amazing stories of positive change.
3. Confidence and self belief
It’s hard to be confident and believe in yourself when you haven’t done anything similar before, but I do think it’s a key component to youth reporting success. If you do your research, have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and know you can do it, you will do great things!
4. Don’t leave everything until the last minute
I didn’t have a lot of confidence when I was on my placement, and so I found myself putting things off. I kept making excuses and not making time for my reporting tasks. I ended up putting myself under a lot more pressure and I never ended up getting everything I wanted to, which I regret to this day. If I were to go back and do it all over again, I would probably set myself weekly tasks, and I would definitely be taking my camera with me everywhere I went. And this leads me onto my next tip…
5. Treat your recording device like your pet
Whether you have a camera, a voice recorder, a notebook and pen, be sure to take them with you everywhere you go. You never know what your going to uncover when your out and about. You need to take great care of them, pay them plenty of attention and regularly feed them with tip top information!
Most of the content I got whilst I was in country, I got from enjoying what I was doing rather than capturing things for the sake of capturing them. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to capture things, or they probably won’t work out that well. Find what your passionate about and chase that idea. Try doing things you love doing, and the rest will just fall into place.
7. Finally, Ask Questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions is how you learn, it’s how you discover new information and it’s how you will gain more confidence and self belief. I was asking the UK communications team at Restless Development so many questions during my placement and it helped a lot. We had a WhatsApp group where we could discuss ideas and share our thoughts. Utilise these tools and don’t be scared to ask for reassurance, it will go a long way.
Anna is a freelance content creator and an activist who is extremely passionate about the environment. She loves to write and blog about her passions and experiences. In 2018, Anna was a Youth Reporter and volunteer on the ICS placement in Nepal with Restless Development. Many of her articles share stories, tips and advice for future ICS volunteers.