60 Seconds With Pioneer Productions’ Shaheera Ali

60 Seconds With Pioneer Productions' Shaheera Ali

Pioneer creates a lot of factual and ob doc programmes with quite fast turnarounds. How important is it to keep up to date with the news?
It’s really important – obviously so with fast turnaround documentaries about very recent events. But it’s also important to keep up to date with current affairs in general, and advances in scientific research and theories. It’s important to have a holistic approach to this, as ideas can be generated from many different, often at first glance unrelated, events in the news.

You recently transmitted a doc about the Oklahoma Tornado. How did you go about gaining access and incorporating sometimes sensitive content?
As Pioneer have long made programmes about such events and the science behind them, we have strong well-established relationships with scientists and experts in the field who often work very closely with authorities in the aftermath of such disastrous events. Most professional and expert entities involved in such events are keen that people are educated about such phenomenon so gaining access is usually relatively easy (though not always!). We ensure our production crews are sensitive, and experienced in dealing with sensitive subjects, especially when communicating with people who’ve suffered first hand. We also have a responsibility to ensure we are always factually correct and work hard to ensure experts in the field can approve of what we say.

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