The Ballymena Today Youth Team recently got the opportunity recently to do an interview with a BBC news reporter. We met Natalie Lindo who you will see & hear on both BBC TV & Radio, reporting from many of the leading local stories making the news. For us this was a brilliant opportunity to ask some questions about her education and experiences as a reporter. We want to pass on what she said as we found it really helpful especially as we’re choosing our subjects and thinking about our career paths now.

Ballymena Today Youth team Interview BBC's Natalie Lindo

But firstly, we asked some fun questions –

Q: You like Cooking, Running and Dancing. What sort of things do you like to cook in your spare time, and what is your “go-to”, for a quick-and-easy option?
A: I mainly like to cook spicy food, because my dad is from Jamaica. One of my favourite things is a lamb curry with almonds, yoghurt and lots of chillies, so it’s really spicy! So if I could only have one dinner forever, it would probably be that. And my “go-to”: in our house, we have this thing called a “Mid-Week Menu” and that’s when we’re tired and only have about half an hour. In our Mid-Week Menu we have spaghetti carbonara, kedgeree (a rice dish), and I like steak with potato wedges.
Q: Do you prefer cooking or baking?
A: When I was about four, my parents got me a cooking set and it had normal things like a rolling pin and a stool, and it was all child-sized. My first thing I ever baked was a Victoria Sponge, and so I can still remember how to do it now. We used to make lots of cakes, and I remember I used to make peppermint creams and dip them in chocolate. I started off baking but I prefer cooking because I’m better at it, and with cakes they don’t always turn out, but when you are cooking, you can add whatever is needed at the time and it will still turn out nice.
Q: What technology do you use outside of work? What do you see as the pros and cons of the usage of technology, and what advice can you give to the use of technology?
A: I’m probably never off my phone, which is really bad! I also look at Twitter and look at the BBC website, and I use my phone for texting and looking at Facebook. I mainly use my iPad or my phone or for social use and I use my iPad for watching Netflix, and other things which you can’t really do on your phone.
Q: Your Twitter bio also says that you like running. What sort of running do you do, and have you got any tips for other runners?
A: Last Christmas, I ran a marathon in Jamaica, so I obviously did a lot of running and a lot of training to get there. That was definitely my limit in running as it was really hard, and obviously Jamaica is a lot hotter than it is here: so 26.2 miles in the heat was really, really hard – so that was my first and last marathon! We started at 5am and finished with a coconut and going into the sea. Make sure running is fun and that you enjoy it. Run in a different variety of styles: with a friend, with music, by yourself, without music – so if that on a race day something happens and maybe your friend gets injured, it won’t feel weird running by yourself. Be positive and think “I can do this”! Don’t eat anything different – eat the things you’ve always eaten, and drink plenty of water.
Q: Which GSCE and ‘A’ level subjects helped you to get you where you are now?
A: For GSCE level, I did Maths, Science, English Literature and English Language, Art, History, Religion, PE and Food Technology. For ‘A’ level I did History, Politics, Sociology and English. In university I did a degree in Law because I wanted to be a barrister, but I didn’t enjoy the course so I studied politics instead because I enjoyed it at ‘A’ level. In my third year, I saw an ad in the newspaper, so I applied for a job in the BBC as a part-time researcher on a politics show and I got it.

I presented a story and it was really good, and that’s when they asked me if I had ever considered being a journalist. However, in order to be a journalist, I had to have a degree, so I went and completed a masters’ degree in journalism. After that, I was accepted onto the BBC, and that was 13 years ago!

Q: Did you do any extra-curricular activities to help you build your confidence?
A: I think sport builds your confidence. I played a lot of sport, such as 5-a-side football, I would run for my county, train 4 times a week, and I was in the volleyball team, the netball team and the football team. It teaches you dedication.
Q: At what stage did you know that you definitely wanted to be a reporter?
A: One of the initial reasons why I wanted to be a barrister was because I was very good at arguing and getting my point across. I could also take pieces of information and talk about it to others concisely, and I felt confident enough to stand up to a lot of people, so I thought Law was perfect for me but like I said, I didn’t enjoy the Law course. When I heard about doing journalism I thought it would be quite similar to a barrister as they take information and explain it to others and therefore the skills were very similar.
I am often among peers who would build confidence. By accident I saw the ad the paper, and I considered it and compared to being a barrister, and decided that that was what I wanted to be. I thought I would be good for the job as I like the sound of my own voice, I like asking questions, and I am quite nosy!

That’s the story so far! Please check back on Ballymena Today for the next part of the interview which will be posted soon. In it we ask Natalie about her job as a reporter and how she uses technology and the internet to help her as a news reporter.