An audio documentary produced at Bournemouth University and aired on Hope FM about the experiences of those who host Ukrainian refugees has won a prestigious national award.
‘The Hosts’, a narrative of five UK nationals who opened their doors to refugees soon after Russia invaded Ukraine, won the gold for ‘News, Journalism & Factual Storytelling’ at the 2023 Community Radio Awards ceremony in Newcastle on 4 November.
“This entry is delivered with passion, emotion, and verve,” the judges said in their award commendation, praising ‘The Hosts’ for "excellent storytelling with beautiful special effects and sublime editing".
‘The Hosts’ weaves together the stories of Kelly, Owen, Carol, Judy, and Helen, who, against a backdrop of parochial political narratives and criticisms of selective empathy, chose to take affirmative action during a time of crisis. It delves into their motivations, exploring what compelled them to welcome perfect strangers into their homes.
"We owe a great debt of gratitude to the people whose stories we tell," said Affiong Bassey, the presenter and lead reporter of ‘The Hosts’. “The many months of interviewing and re-interviewing that it took us to put this production together would not have happened but for the patience of the hosts and the refugees, and also the experts.”
‘The Hosts’ was co-created by a student and staff team from The Breaker, the news and features website associated with MA Multimedia Journalism (MAMMJ). Reported across 10 months by Affiong Bassey, Charlotte Albutt, Aman Singh Gandhi, and Delya Apsari, it first aired on 90.1 Hope FM radio on 24 February 2023, the first anniversary of the Ukraine invasion.
"In this documentary, we aimed to go beyond the limits of explanatory journalism, moving beyond simply presenting the challenges of migrant integration," said Professor Chindu Sreedharan, one of the Executive Producers of 'The Hosts'. "We sought to apply our research knowledge from disaster situations worldwide. We endeavoured to bring theories and good practices that we regularly teach in our journalism courses to life — and so, we actively explored solutions that individuals and society as a whole could adopt to improve the situation."
Professor Sreedharan said ‘The Hosts’ was a good illustration of BU’s Fusion principle in action, integrating as it does research, professional practice, and education.
"It is the story of the remarkable resilience and compassion of ordinary people facing an extraordinary situation," said Jason Hallett, who worked with Professor Sreedharan as Executive Producer. "It was a privilege to be part of that story and work with a talented group of journalists."