Skip to content

All a Field Producer needs: Cup of tea, waterproof jacket, pen and paper, phone, and passport 

Declan Wilson speaks to Leeds Trinity Journalism students

By Tania Jacquier

Declan Wilson told students at Leeds Trinity Journalism Week that the key to his ten years as a Field Producer is a simple cup of tea. 

Following the arrest and trial of Steve Wright, the Ipswich serial killer, he and his team were on the go from 6am until 10pm – and then he discovered that they would need to work through the night to go live at 6am the next morning. 

He said: “The most important thing I did that day was I went down to McDonald’s, and I got 20 bacon rolls and 20 cups of tea, and that got us through. 

“Tea is brilliant – for yourself, for supporting others, and for teamworking.” 

Declan came to the BBC via work with local newspapers and the Channel One TV, but his dream was always to work in the field. 

He said: “I wanted to get my boots dirty, and get out there.” 

The other essential items in his producer’s arsenal are a good waterproof jacket, a pad of paper and a pen, a phone, and his passport. 

In 2001, he missed out on going to New York to cover 9/11 because he didn’t have his passport on him. However, in November that year he was able to go to Afghanistan just one week after the Taliban were driven out of Kabul. 

He said: “It’s still one of the most interesting stories and best assignments I’ve had in my career. It was something I’ve always wanted to do.” 

However, he added: “No story is worth dying for. It’s exciting going to dangerous places, that’s why you do it. But if you keep running to the fire, eventually you’re going to get burned.” 

His top tip for young journalists is never to assume anything. 

He said: “When you start assuming things, things start to go wrong. I would rather be second, and right, than first and wrong.” 

What do you think?