Ellie is a third year Broadcast Journalism student here at the University at Salford. She has decided to dedicate her major final project towards the issue of congenital heart disease (CHD) which she describes in greater detail below.
I had CHD as a child and have always been interested in heart charities and their work. I first learned about a charity called Healing Little Hearts when I went for a post-operation appointment in 2016/2017. Healing Little Hearts provides free heart surgery to babies and children in developing parts of the world.
The charity’s founder, Dr Sanjiv Nichani, works as a consultant at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester – the only children’s specialist heart unit in the East Midlands. In 2016/17, there was a consultation going on as the unit was at risk of closure. I interviewed Dr Nichani then, as part of a documentary I made at college about the consultation. He told me all about his charity and what they do. I have followed their work ever since.
So, when deciding on a subject for my final major project at the University of Salford, I chose the issue of CHD abroad. I wanted to follow a team of volunteers on a mission abroad, to highlight the amazing work these people do, and to explain the issue of CHD in poorer countries. When I suggested this idea to my lecturers, they were very supportive and enthusiastic, going out of their way to help me develop my idea before we had even begun the major project module.
As my final year commenced, I contacted Dr Nichani who put me in touch with the charity’s organisers. They were more than happy for me to come along with them and film one of their missions.
Eventually, I settled on going to Romania at the end of January 2020, with a team of volunteer staff from Bristol, Leicester and London. I was planning on funding the trip myself, until when logging onto the University of Salford’s Student Hub one day, I saw a post about the Santander Travel Awards. Through this, I was able to apply for a grant, to help cover the expense of traveling for my project.
Fortunately, I was successful and received the funding, which I was really excited about! In January, I spent eight days in Sibiu, Romania, filming the medical volunteers and the children who were treated for CHD. I filmed everything from screenings, to open heart surgery and recovery on the intensive care unit. It was an incredible opportunity to put my production skills to the test. Although it was out of my comfort zone to be filming in a foreign country, with people I had never met before, it has helped me to become more confident in my abilities.
Whilst in Romania, Ellie filmed some ‘behind the scenes’ style footage to give us an insight into what a week in the life of a Broadcast Journalism student can involve.
Interested in studying becoming a journalist? Check out the degree pathways below 🤩