Local Journalist Tackling Taboos with New Podcast

Local young journalist Niamh Brownhill is aiming to tackle society’s taboo subjects head on in her new podcast, Talking Taboo with Niamh. Niamh is a student journalist currently in her final year at Sheffield College and won the BBC’s National Young Reporter award last year for her brilliant piece, ‘I Quit College to Care for my Alcoholic Mum.’ We spoke to her to find out more about the podcast.

Tell us about the podcast.

The podcast is called ‘Talking Taboo with Niamh’ and it is all about breaking down the stigma of certain subjects that people are scared to open up about or talk about through conversation; one episode could be about mental health, sexuality or what it was like growing up caring for a parent with addiction. 

I have always had a calling to help others, wanting to give others support or advice from things I have been through. Even though I am only young I have been through an awful lot, I want to turn negative experiences into positives and since being a journalist and wanting to get into radio I felt this was a perfect way to do it. I am killing two birds with one stone. I am creating a safe place for others whilst gaining experience and confidence within myself. 

Where did the name ‘talking taboo’ come from?

All the topics I want to talk about or have already talked about seem to be referred to as taboo or have a stigma alongside them and I thought it was perfect for the podcast. In college, on our course we do a podcast unit and me and my friend did a fake podcast. We used ‘talking taboo’ and it stuck with me because I think it is a name that everyone can remember and sums up what my podcast is about perfectly.  

The first episode gave a brilliant insight into life with an alcoholic parent, what other topics are you hoping to cover in future episodes?

Oh my goodness I have so many planned out, the next episode I am joined by my best friend and we talk about sexuality and gender, it is such a good episode with some amazing advice! But I want to do more episodes on mental health, feminism, life as a gay journalist and even maybe solo episodes where I am own on my own answering listeners’ questions.  

Is there anyone you’d like to have on the podcast as a guest?

Honestly, anybody. I love hearing about peoples’ stories and chatting with them about their experiences so if you are wanting to get involved get in touch with me!! But I also would love to interview drag queens, the queens of the north. I thought that would be such a cool episode. 

 If we are dreaming big, Louis Theroux. He was the main reason I wanted to study journalism and he inspires me to ask those hard-hitting questions, and he has done some really cool documentaries so would have some amazing stories to tell. 

What are your hopes for the podcast?

I would love for it to just reach as many people across the world as possible, and become a podcast people want to keep coming back to. I mean yes, I would love for it to take off and get lots of listens, anyone would, but that’s not why I have done it. I have done it so if someone is listening and struggling with something in their life or feeling alone, they can listen and feel as if they have a friend, like I am on the phone to them chatting.  My aims are for it to just bring comfort and laughter into someone’s life. I would love to get more guests in on it and I think that would be easier after lockdown, when everyone is free to meet again. If we are looking further in the future, one day I would love to have my own studio or even have a segment on a big radio show but that is something way, way into the future. 

Finally, what are some of your favourite podcasts that people should check out? 

There are some amazing podcasts out there to suit everyone’s taste, here are some of my favourites; Happy Place – Fearne Cotton, Getting Lippy With – Imogen Horton, Grounded with Louis Theroux, Rose and Rosie – Parental Guidance, Dyking Out, Out with Suzi Ruffell, Rolling Stone – Music Now.

You can find Talking Taboo with Niamh on Spotify and Anchor.

Louisa Merrick-White

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