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Spring 2023 - bowing out after 49 years!
As I bow out of full time podcast and journalism it was gratifying to get these thanks from the water industry trade press. I've so enjoyed helping Affinity Water communicate How Water Works. So my thanks goes to all its Teams.
If you have time do watch my YouTube leaving video with the talented social media Team at AW. I've learnt so much from them and my colleagues. Thanks to Chole Bonner, Sean Holt and Rowan Mansell. And good luck to them in their future careers:. https://youtu.be/BLxlLNG0dAo
Boni - thanks from trade press.
Hi Boni, I'm sorry to hear you're leaving Affinity. I've really appreciated your advice over the last few years. I'll probably speak to you before you go but if not all the best with whatever comes next!
Will Davies Head of Communications www.water.org.uk
Boni, Good luck in your next chapter - Daniel Ware Publisher Water Magazine - Capel Media Ltd
Boni, Nooooo.....! Ah Boni, really sorry to hear this, but obviously if you are semi-retiring, I'm sure that is great news for you! No doubt you will find the right mix of leisure and interesting work, which to be fair sounds brilliant after 40 years at the coalface. Thanks so much for all your help over the last few years, it has been really lovely working with you. I will note your number and hope you do pop up somewhere watery soon! Very best wishes Karma, Editor – Water Report
Hello Boni, just thought I'd touch base and say all the best for whatever you're planning to do in the future! You've put together some great stuff while you've been at Affinity - and you're not an old hack you are an incredibly professional journalist! Stay in touch and let me know if you end up doing anything else water/ climate change related, very kind regards, Elaine Coles, Managing Editor The Waterbriefing team
Dear Boni, Thank you so much for letting me know - I'd remembered you'd said you would be retiring this year and had meant to ask when. I've
always been hugely grateful to have a friendly knowledgeable person to chat to
about all things AW and the sector. So huge thanks to you for everything. I hope
for your sake retirement is massively enjoyable but understand the temptation to
're-emerge'! I will save your number to stay in touch 😊 Enjoy your last few
weeks and hope nothing too taxing crops up... famous last words...
All the best Ruth Williams, Utility Week.
I have worked in the media, print, radio and television for 40 years and now specialise in web broadcasting. I have been at the forefront of digital reporting through the web and have won the respect of others for my high production values and speaking up for and pushing forward public-interest journalism, so much of which is now under threat.
You can listen to my latest two part audio documentary podcast about Keyne's and his book "The Economic Consequences of the Peace" here. https://www.ineteconomics.org/events/the-centenary-conference-on-the-keyness-economic-consequences-of-the-peace
In October 2015 my www.parliamentaryradio.com team won an Honourable Mention in the IAWRT (International Association of Women in Radio and TV) awards. We were the only UK winner. My first book on women MPs was nominated for the Orwell Prize in journalism.
My career in journalism began on the East Anglian Daily Times in Ipswich, where my first day at work was spent on strike. The NUJ, which normally would not take on new members for some time, enrolled me at the front door of the building before I even stepped in, fearing that I might break the picket lines and go to work. Not wanting to be called "a scab" I duly joined the NUJ. Management was not pleased. My career has been "tricky" ever since! Read more »
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Boni Sones Podcasting web services
Boni Sones is one of the early adopters of podcasting through the web. In 2020 podcasting has truly come of age but Boni and her small team of like-minded journalists set up one of the first online podcast channels specialising in broadcasting interviews with women MPs in March 2007. Wikipedia acknowledges this in its history of podcasts. In January 2009 she was awarded an OBE for Broadcasting.
All her team's political podcasts are now housed in national audio archive at the BL, the LSE, The History and now the Churchill College political archives University of Cambridge. She has written four books to accompany these which are in all the major libraries of the UK.
Having been trained in high standards of print journalism and subsequently broadcasting Boni capitalised on her career as a BBC correspondent in the East and Political Editor there and as a Senior Broadcast journalist at BBC News 24. She was quick off the mark to set up her own broadcaster as soon as the broadcasting laws allowed.
Back in 2005 only individuals not the mainstream terrestrial UK channels could expand their broadcast programming using the web. This was designed to allow a wider more diverse expansion of broadcasting. Role on 20 years and that's just what is happening with the mainstream channels publicising their podcasts too.
While podcasting took off in the mid-2000s through RSS feeds it competed initially with video content and it has taken another decade for people to realise that radio can be superior to TV and more versatile for mobile listeners.
Boni assisted by Cambridge University's tech CARAT lab taught herself sound engineering and now does the full scope of the production work scripting, recording ,interviewing and editing her reports and documentaries herself with a focus on current affairs public interest journalism. She uses her wide knowledge of public affairs and her "ears" to produce content of World Service standards with minimal but high spec equipment.
Her collaborators are loyal and senior in their industries and sectors. She has specialised in higher education and works across departments at the University of Cambridge in law, technology, finance and economics and with others who stumble across her content too.
By turning often complex research into accessible web content it has facilitated these acknowledged specialists in their respective fields to broaden their appeal and reach a wider global audience. It helps them to inform, educate and entertain.
Turning senior executives into broadcasters and presenters is a specialist interest Boni has engaged in with some tremendous successes. She's travelled to China to make films with them. But be warned it's not a quick turn around you have to learn and develop the skill. That takes application and time. It is not for the faint hearted, and Boni's feedback can be edgy!
Podcasts today are made to variable production values. Some are great content but many are not. Stories still need a beginning, middle and an end. The format of delivery of broadcasts may have changed but the rules and production values are still the same whether it's social media or mainstream media.
She is now a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge and at Policy Associate at the Centre for Business Research, Cambridge.
Do email if you want to know more: email@example.com
You can listen to some of Boni's recent podcasts. Here are the links for you to tune into. They cover law, economics, environment, technology, innovation, health, #Brexit and women in politics:
Boni Sones OBE a policy associate at the CBR and Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College University of Cambridge has spent the past eighteen months from the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic until now working closely with the largest water only company in the UK conducting podcasts.
Boni has used her broadcast journalist and podcast skills to enable Affinity Water to use the local media to communicate with its 3.6 million customers across North London and the Eastern Region to inform them of the economic help and payment breaks available to households who have lost income as a result of the pandemic. This is in line with what the water regulator OfWAT has asked all the 11 water and sewage and 9 water only companies across the UK to do. To date over 9000 AW customers have been given payment breaks and others helped financially in some way.
During the three national lockdowns Boni also used local and national media, including the prominent trade press in the utilities sector, to communicate Affinity Water's drive to cut household water use by highlighting how the water customers use in their homes comes from globally rare chalk stream aquifers which in many cases are now running dry due to over abstraction. There are only 250 chalk streams in the World and 10 per cent of these are in the AW region. They are as rare as the Bengali Tiger. Hand washing health advice during the Covid pandemic and the increase in WFH (working from home) led to a significant increase in household water use. During hot weather #savewater messaging is urgent as homes and essential services such as hospitals are in danger of running out of water if problems arise on the aging network with an acknowledged under investment in new infrastructure and reservoirs across the UK.
The increase in Staycations during the Covid pandemic and a greater appreciation of walking in and around local communities during lock downs aided AW's high-profile SOS Save Our Streams messaging with a subsequent reduction in water use in traditionally high use areas like St Albans in Hertfordshire.
This has taken place against the backdrop of when Sir James Bevan head of the Environment Agency in March 2019 warned that Britain is looking into "the jaws of death" when water supply in the UK will not keep up with demand in the near future as the pressure of new build homes and climate change bring about change.
In 2019 Boni also helped Affinity Water launch an earlier campaign called "Why not Water" which successfully called for the water labelling of white goods and individual water use targets amongst other measures which are now to be made law in the new Environment Bill going through Parliament. Her podcast interviews included economists; industry representatives and Lord Deben head of the government's Climate Change Committee. She has subsequently supported the SOS campaign with additional podcasts including the head of the manufacturing organisation; and the chair of the APPG on chalk streams. You can listen here: https://soundcloud.com/user-39816632 .
AW's SOS campaign with its "nudge" messaging such as not rinsing plates before they go into the dishwasher is already being mentioned in the National Media by the government's spokesperson on how to bring about change in behaviour in the climate change debate.
Here are some recent testimonials
"I've just finished listening to it, it's brilliant - you clearly know your stuff and directed it expertly. The narrative really comes through and it's very natural. Thanks for guiding us so seamlessly through it " Thanks, Jane Bellard, Campaign Lead, Save Our Streams www.saveourstreams.co.uk
"The recordings are a wonderful record, political and much much more. We owe you much more than a coffee but I will hold you to a cuppa when it is safe to do so." Andrew Riley, Senior Archivist, Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge
"Your ability to ask interesting and engaging questions in a knowledgeable and energetic way is critical to the success of the podcasts," Professor Michael Barrett, JBS, University of Cambridge.
"Boni, this came out very well indeed! Brilliant. Thanks so much for all of your hard work on this!! Best, Maury, INET, University of Cambridge.
"Thanks so much. The podcasts have helped a lot in learning how to explain," Professor Catherine Barnard, Law, University of Cambridge.
"Dear Boni, Many thanks - this sounds amazing. I am intrigued how you lifted my many umms out of this version. Congratulations", Markus, University of Cambridge.
"It's (the documentary) fabulous and thanks so much and great to see you!", Sarah, WPP The Store.
"Thanks Boni - I've just listened to the first five minutes of Part 1 and it sounds really excellent and captures the atmosphere and spirit of the day nicely, " Adrian Brown, CEO, CPI
"I've listened now to both in full. Wonderful production, interviews and vibe." Nadine Smith, CPI
Working with the Curator's Office in the House of Commons, Melanie Unwin Co-Director of #Vote100 said: "Thank you and well done, it's a nice recording (another of many!)."
Dr Lisa Cameron, SNP, a member of the www.parliamentaryradio.com board said this of our Vote1000 documentary in February 2018: "Thank you so much Boni, your work is wonderful!"
"I was immensely impressed by Boni. She is the best informed interviewer, I have ever encountered on this issue." David Jones MP
"Boni, I have just had a chance to listen to your utterly brilliant podcast with Baroness Deech. Great questions and terrific answers. Well done," Graham, B4B