Stammering Makes the Headlines

BBC reporter Felicity presenting a news item on stammering

12th January 2021

Stammering made headline news last night as Stamma member and reporter Felicity Baker made her debut report for BBC News.

Up until now, Felicity has worked behind the scenes at the BBC Newsdesk, but last night made her first report for the channel, which was featured on the 6 o'clock news and again on the News at Ten. 

Felicity's piece focused on what it's like to stammer in the run up to the inauguration of Joe Biden, who will be the first President of the United States with a stammer. Watch the video below.

Narrated by Felicity, the piece introduces us to Shelby, a young boy who talks about how frustrating it can be when people finish your sentences. Felicity then shows footage of herself aged 25 when her stammer was more pronounced, and explains to camera how she's never spoken about her stammer before. Cut to an interview with former MP Ed Balls, who tells us how he felt when urged to be open about his stammer in such a high profile role. It then goes on to highlight Joe Biden's journey with stammering, with Shelby explaining what it means to him knowing that the next President stammers.

Reaction

There was much praise for Felicity's first report on our social media; here are just a few of the comments:

"My son watched this and said it was great to see others like him who also have a stammer."

"Great report. I have never spoken about my stammer, it's very easy to feel very alone. But things like this make you see that that's not true."

"It's a very inspiring news report. It's great seeing Felicity doing so well at the BBC."

"Brilliant piece. As a stammerer and freelance journalist myself, it's great to see stammering represented on a mainstream news channel. It certainly hasn't stopped me from doing what I enjoy and glad it hasn't with Felicity either. Well done, Felicity!"

Even Felicity's high profile colleagues joined in with the support, with newsreader Sophie Raworth tweeting "I worked with @felicity_baker loads last year. One day she mentioned she had a stammer. I had no idea. She never spoke about it publicly. But tonight she did this report ahead of Biden’s inauguration - he has one too. And I think she is brave and brilliant. Huge respect"

Tweet by Sophie Raworth in support of Felicity's news report

Not many people are aware that Joe Biden himself stammers, so this report on primetime news, at a time when so many of us are at home watching TV, is an amazing piece of awareness-raising. Well done Felicity on an outstanding piece; yet more evidence that stammering needn't hold you back from pursuing your dream job!

Read our reaction to the prospect of Joe Biden becoming the first President with a stammer.

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