Boni Sones OBE has been a reporter and correspondent in print, radio, television and now online journalism since 1976 where she specialises in public policy, business and politics. She has climbed the editorial ladder to become an Editor in all three of these media in charge of teams of journalists, some now internationally known, working in fast-fire situations. She has reported for both local and national media including the East Anglian Daily Times, The Cambridge Evening News, BBC News 24, BBC Television in the East and freelance for BBC Radio 4. She has been eight different correspondents in both print and live “on-air” broadcast journalism and she has learnt how to simplify and communicate accurately complex messages to a wide range of audiences.
In the charity sector she has worked for the Association of Chief Executives in Voluntary Organisations and helped author Communities in Control. At Board and Chairwoman level she has crisis-managed a National Lottery distributor’s grant allocations in the face of considerable media criticism over a number of years. Her independent production company was one of the first to innovate broadcasting practices online, pioneering the “as live” audio podcast through the web. She adapted these techniques to online political reporting in Westminster where she runs her own internet channel.
At the University of Cambridge Boni reports on academic economic and business research where she has conducted a number of highly relevant interviews during the 2008/9 international financial crash. In January 2009 she was awarded an OBE for “Services to broadcasting and PR”. She has published four books on women MPs and public policy formulation, the first of which made the short-list for the Orwell Prize in Journalism. The British Library and The London School of Economics, the History of Parliament Trust and the Churchill Political Archives have audio archives of her political podcast work where she has led a team that has left a significant historical legacy.
Her script writing skills are now used in the private sector where at CEO level she has visited China and reported on China’s top brands with WPP. She is a Wikipedia editor and has helped others write books on economics and business. As an Amazon author she writes creatively, again pioneering the new online techniques of publishing with independent businesses. Her topical online reporting often travels into the national print media.
She enjoys mentoring others who have learnt from her skills and has excellent testimonials for her training work and books. She has masterminded a number of pro-bono campaigns for social justice at a national level including “Free the Cambridge Two”.
In 2015 the www.parliamentaryradio.com was recognised by the International Association of Women in Radio and TV; it was the only UK winner.
In May 2015 she also conducted 70 interviews about the General Election campaign in Cambridge with all six candidates and City Council representatives to capture the influence of technological change on campaigning. These are also deposited with the History of Parliament Trust.
Boni’s third book When There’s a Woman in the Room – Part Two was published in the summer of 2017. The interviews span from January 2015 to July 2017. They are housed at the History of Parliament Trust.
Her fourth book: When There’s a Woman in the Room #Vote 100 year – 2018 to January 2019 has over 80 interviews with women MPs across party on issues that came to the fore for women in #Vote 100 year.
By taking herself to the Westminster Hall debates and picking up on the Wednesday Questions to the Prime Minister, #PMQs, Boni was able to record interviews and turn them into compelling web documentaries at the #Vote100 year events. There are also views from across the political spectrum on the #Brexit Bills and debates throughout 2018. And a further clutch of interviews conducted throughout 2019 cover this turbulent time in British politics.
These interviews are now housed at the Churchill Political Archives at the University of Cambridge who have blogged and used social media to talk about them.
The Churchill Archive Centre will now be expanding its collection of her podcast work by taking over those interviews now at the History of Parliament Trust. This will allow them to be accessed more easily and listened to. The Churchill Archive will now comprehensively house all Boni’s teams podcasts in Parliament from January 2015 to January 2019. About 250 in all.’ It will also link to those at the BL (82) and LSE (250)
That collection also has several hours of broadcast interviews with academics in Cambridge on the Brexit debates that were dominating the news headlines. These include a box set of interviews with Professor Simon Deakin, Director of the CBR and others.
Boni has now spent three years reporting on the environment and water sector at a time when COVID-19 was increasing pressure on our water resources and consumers were experiencing difficulty in paying their bills as a result of furloughing. Sir James Bevan, the Head of the Environment Agency, has warned that the UK’s water companies are facing a water shortage crisis that will see them look into “The Jaws of Death” in the near future as a result of climate change and the increasing pressure to build new homes.
Boni has helped launch campaigns to improve the health of our chalk streams and conducted podcast interviews that have called for regulators and water companies to do more to save our streams by adopting measures like the water labelling of white goods or setting individual water use targets that are now measures that are included in the new Environment Bill.
She is a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge.