On The Eye our Editor Phil Parry has described how he was helped to break into the South Wales Echo office car when he was a cub reporter, recalled his early career as a journalist, the importance of experience in the job, and making clear that the ‘calls’ to emergency services as well as court cases are central to any media operation.
He has also explored how poorly paid most journalism is when trainee reporters had to live in squalid flats, the vital role of expenses, and about one of his most important stories on the now-scrapped 53 year-old BBC Cymru Wales (BBC CW) TV Current Affairs series, Week In Week Out (WIWO), which won an award even after it was axed, long after his career really took off.
Phil has explained too how crucial it is actually to speak to people, the virtue of speed as well as accuracy, why knowledge of ‘history’ is vital, how certain material was removed from TV Current Affairs programmes when secret cameras had to be used, and some of those he has interviewed.
After disclosing why investigative journalism is needed now more than ever although others have different opinions, and how information from trusted sources is crucial at this time of crisis, here he looks at facilities for the disabled in the BBC CW new building in Cardiff.
What is access like for disabled people in BBC Cymru Wales’ (BBC CW) new £100 million headquarters at Cardiff’s Central Square?
This is a valid question to raise as I am one myself.
As anyone who knows me will testify, I walk with a stick now, and in a few years I will probably be in a wheelchair.
I suffer from an incurable neurological condition called Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP).
As my consultant explained it, this is basically a corrosion of the nerves which tell your legs to do what you want them to do.
In years to come only stem cell research MAY find a solution, but in the meantime it becomes slightly worse every day.
It is a rare disease, but mainly because it is often misdiagnosed as rheumatism.
Sometimes there is not even a handrail on stairs, let alone a lift, and then I am completely knackered.
There are grounds for alarm on the score of access for disabled people like me in the new BBC CW building.
One insider has told The Eye there is nothing in one department and disabled people would find it very difficult.
“It is lucky there are no wheelchair users in our department”, the person said.
This is a major source of concern.
If facilities for disabled people are poor, it means that we must rely on help from others which we do not want to do.
The overriding issue for disabled people is that we don’t want to be treated as DIFFERENT, but all too often we are.
The ramp into a public building or office is usually located far away from the direct steps to the front door, and you feel like an outcast using it.
All modern buildings like the BBC CW headquarters should have ramps incorporated into the design so that everyone, able-bodied or otherwise, use them.
There has already been huge controversy over the long delay for all staff transferring to their new headquarters.
Anger is mounting among BBC CW staff that they did not move in before the lockdown, and now we understand the official opening may not take place until late Summer or even Autumn – more than two and a half years after the keys were handed over.
The pressure on Mr Davies could grow if the facilities for disabled people like me are poor in his new building…
Tomorrow – why seeing talks at the Hay Festival is easier now for Phil.
The memories of his astonishing 36-year award-winning career in journalism (many of them at BBC CW) as he was gripped by Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now!
If you need something to keep the children entertained during these uncertain times (in Welsh) try Ffwlbart Ffred about the amusing stories of Ffred and his pet.