De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduate Chanell Wallace has landed the sought-after role of presenting an episode of BBC One’s Panorama, thanks to her tireless work around knife crime.
Airing tonight at 8.30pm, Knives in the Classroom will examine the growing numbers of young people who are carrying knives and becoming victims of knife crime.
Chanell, whose brother was stabbed to death when she was 11, will meet young people growing up in communities where there has been an increase in knife crime, and will spend time in a school to see the impact of knives in the classroom.
She joins the ranks of well-known presenters such as David Dimbleby, Robin Day and Jeremy Vine to report for the world's longest-running news television programme.
“It’s both the hardest and most rewarding job I’ve ever had,” said the Investigative Journalism MA graduate.
“The experience has taught me so much and it’s helped me to understand why my job is so important and why I love doing it.
“Working with people going through what I’ve been through was super hard, but also quite liberating. I want young people to know that no matter where you come from, you are in charge of your destiny. Proper representation in the media and society plays a big part in achieving this.”
Chanell’s career took off after winning the BBC Northern Docs Pitch at Sheffield Doc Fest last year, earning her a commission to make a long-form film for BBC Three, as well as mentoring and support from award-winning production company Blakeway North.
Her documentary Life After My Brother's Murder was subsequently picked up and aired on BBC One.
The 25-year-old from Nottingham said: “It felt like a dream come true.
“It’s something I thought about so many times, but never believed would actually happen. My life literally changed overnight.”
After completing a journalism degree, Chanell spent six months working on SILK (Stephen Lawrence Instils Knowledge) - the flagship publication of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust - before deciding to study at DMU.
“The course caught my eye because of its industry connection. It’s like Channel 4 took everything they believe in and put it into a degree," said Chanell.
“It gave me two crucial things: a postgraduate qualification which I never thought I could accomplish and all the skills I needed to succeed in the industry.
"It helped me find my feet and become the journalist I wanted to be.”
Developed in collaboration with Channel 4, DMU’s Investigative Journalism MA is delivered by industry experts, including visiting professor Dorothy Byrne, Head of Channel 4 News and Current Affairs.
It covers practical filming and editing skills, alongside theoretical areas such as in-depth research, handling complex data, understanding financial information, working undercover and using freedom of information.
Posted on Monday 9th September 2019