Josh Sandiford

Birmingham Mail and Birmingham Live

Four years ago, I had never met another journalist. I was the first in my family to attend university and soon developed a fascination for news.

After guessing editors' emails, I completed work experience placements in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham before freelancing for The Guardian, Observer and The Big Issue. I began my first full-time role in June 2021 as a trainee patch reporter for the Birmingham Mail and Birmingham Live - and quickly made a mark, delivering a run of front-page exclusives and engaging live broadcasts. I have built an impressive portfolio of news and politics, live reporting, human interest journalism, in-depth features, showbiz exclusives, reviews and data-driven stories - bringing in more than ten million website hits and 1.5 million views on Facebook. Currently one of two reporters recruited to cover Solihull, we have brought high-quality news coverage to a previously underreported borough. Our new MySolihull brand has provided millions of unique page impressions through stories which often have national significance. I spent months covering the case of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes after a harrowing murder trial put Solihull in the spotlight. I later helped reveal the local links of a woman outed by MI5 as an alleged Chinese spy. I was also instrumental in catapulting the 25-year-old mystery of the Milk Carton Kids back into the headlines. Keen to grasp every opportunity possible, I have reported not just from parish councils but Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Paris. Birmingham Live editor Graeme Brown said I had shown "just about the best attitude I've ever known a reporter have". My proudest achievement was working on a three-month investigation into Logan Podmore, a five-month-old baby who died inside a “chaotic” house with cocaine in his system. With fewer journalists in coroners courts due to the pandemic, it was a story which had gone unnoticed. At almost every step of the way, my editor Matt Lloyd and I were convinced we had missed something. It seemed almost too shocking to be true. I spent weeks communicating with family members to gain their trust. I also had to obtain and verify documents before approaching Logan's mother and authorities involved in the case. The story had an immediate impact, making the front page of the Sunday Mercury and attracting tens of thousands of online readers.