Week 1 - Brexit
This was my first news day and I was put on a team to do a story on Brexit. My team members were busy working on a prep story from the week before so I was tasked to work on the copy for the story. I am from Canada and don’t actually know a lot about Brexit so I found it a bit confusing as to why I was put on this story and why I was sent off to do the copy on my own. Despite that, it was still a valuable experience trying to do a story on a topic I knew nothing about and turn it around the same day. Unfortunately, this story was not published because it was not complete. In the future, I think this could be avoided if I communicate better with my team and editors to make sure we are all doing what we need or can do.
Working on this story was a better experience of working with my team. I was once again tasked with writing the copy but this was easier to write about because it was a simpler subject so I think the copy came out well. The biggest struggle we had was getting an interview as no one at the store was available to talk that day. Despite this, we still got enough information to get the story published with copy, photos and an audio element. A different group also followed it up the next week with another story. If I were to do this story again I would maybe have tried harder to get the interview. We could have tried to go to the store with our equipment and asked in person which may have made it easier to persuade them to say yes to a quick interview.
Week 2 - October Books
This day was one of the better ones in terms of teamwork and getting the story done. I helped a little bit with the photos and did some of the voice over for the audio section. Everyone on the team worked well together to figure out who was doing what so we got the story done and published relatively quickly. I don’t think there is much I would really do differently next time except to strive for this kind of teamwork and communication among the people I work with.
Week 4 - Helping with TV Broadcast
This was the day that I helped with the TV broadcast; I helped to write some of the script in Inews and I worked the teleprompter scroll when we went live. Learning how to use Inews was a very valuable experience. I was told that it is a program that is used widely and because we do not learn how to use it in my program back home in Canada, it will look good when I am searching for a job to have some experience with the program. The obvious difficulty that I had was that it was my first time using the program so I was a bit clumsy and slow at first, it was somewhat difficult to keep pace with when the stories needed to be done but it was easy to get help from peers and instructors so it all turned out well. It was also interesting to use the teleprompter scroll as that was also something I haven’t had a chance to do until now. I have done some behind the scenes work but not with the scroll. It was fun to learn to listen to the presenter and figure out how fast or slow to scroll, it really showed me how much team work actually goes into the behind the scenes process of a broadcast.
This was the day that I did the 1:00 radio bulletin. This was a very exciting day because, for starters, I got to put what I learned about Inews to the test. I had to write almost my entire script for the bulletin and I only had so much time to do it. This helped me to learn to write more concisely as I need to get it done relatively quick and I only had so much time to present it on air. With some help, I think that I did a good job with writing my script and keeping it to the appropriate length. I did have some troubles with my time management though, I got my script done in time but not with a lot of time to spare so I didn’t get many practice runs. Even though I didn’t get to practice as much as I would have liked, I still think that the bulletin went fairly well. I didn’t mess up many of my lines and I stayed within the time limit. I was pretty nervous though and I think it is easy to tell that I was having trouble breathing for the first little while of the broadcast. There was also a problem that I have had difficulties with in the past, I have a very monotone voice when I present. I have been told by several professors back home in Canada and here that I could use a little more excitement in my voice for certain stories that need it. This is something that I am aware that I need to work on and I have been trying but I am still having trouble changing it. I think it is because I still get very nervous when presenting and I think that is what makes me not worry so much about the tone I use. In the future, it would probably be helpful if I make some time to do some practice runs so that I can see what stories could use a little bit more emotion.
Week 5 - Radio Buliten
Week 6 - Coins
This was the last day that I worked on a full story with a team. It started off a bit rocky because my team members were not happy with the story we were originally assigned. But, we communicated with our editors well and told them that we thought that a story on talks about the abolishment of one pence coins would be better than the one they assigned. The editor agreed and I think this demonstrated great communication among team members and editors in order to make sure that we were putting out the best content possible. For this story, I worked on the audio element, I went out and talked to a few people about their thoughts on the abolishment of the coins. Doing vox pops always makes me nervous so I did have some trouble finding people. I went to Above Bar Street hoping to talk to some buskers about how getting rid of the coins might affect the money they might get from people passing by but it was the middle of the day on a Wednesday so I didn’t find anyone playing. I did manage to talk to a few students about the subject though and they had some interesting things to say so I feel that the story did turn out well. Something that I will carry forward from this experience is to be sure to talk to editors if I think that a story can be done better or differently and make sure that we are on the same page about it.
Week 7 - TV Bulliten
This was the day that I did my TV broadcast. It was a very stressful day but also a very valuable experience that I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to do back home in Canada. I got to use Inews again and I found myself much more comfortable with the program and found myself navigating it much more efficiently than the first few times. With the help of everyone else working on the broadcast and professors, I feel that I did a good job of organizing and writing my script. I did once again have trouble with sounding too monotone with some of the delivery of my bulletin and I did mess up some of the words because I am not used to reading off of a teleprompter but overall I think that it turned out alright. I would have liked to have had more practice runs leading up to going live though. I really only had one practice run through that we didn’t even get all the way through because we had trouble with contacting the reporters that we went live to at the football stadium. This made the whole process very rushed and we ended up going live a bit late. Despite the frustration and stress, I feel that this experience was a valuable lesson in how a newsroom might work and how to think quickly and work with your team to overcome obstacles. Everyone managed to stay calm and we worked together to come up with a solution that wasn’t perfect by our standards but was hardly noticeable when watching the broadcast. Next time I would probably try to do more practice runs earlier so that we could encounter these problems with enough time to fix them in a timely manner.
Project 1 - New Recycling Banks
This was my fist major project for this class. I did a story on new recycling banks being introduced to the city of Southampton. The first hurdle I had with this story is that it was not my original story idea. I had originally wanted to do a story on a local brewpub celebrating their anniversary but I had difficulties contacting someone to talk to so I had to make the switch to this story. This created another setback because now I was a little bit behind on how much time I had to complete this package, which made me rush through it a little bit. I tried to contact some sources to talk to me for the story but no one got back to me (until after the story was published) so I had to rely on studies and the Southampton City Council website for my information. This also allowed me to get enough information to do an audio element for the story. There unfortunately wasn’t an interview to include but there was enough new information that would still allow it to add to the story. I managed to go out and get some photos that turned out well for the story but I really struggled to get enough footage for the video element. I had a hard time finding enough of a variety of shots and I didn’t have an interview to film so I ended up not including a video element to this story. Next time I would try to do better at managing my time. I realize it does happen that stories sometimes fall through and I feel like I did adapt to that situation well but even still, I feel that if I managed my time better I could have gotten an interview done and gotten out more to get some footage for a video element.
Project 2 - Dancing Man Brewery
This is the story that I had originally wanted to do for my first project. I finally got in contact with someone at the brewery and managed to go in and do the story. There was only one person I could talk to that day so he ended up being the only person I talked to for this story. He is the head brewer and co owner of the brewpub so it was an interesting and well-informed interview but it would have been nice to have talked to someone else. It might have been good for me to try to go back another day to talk to someone else or talk to some of the customers in the pub. Although I did not get a good variety of interviews, I still feel that the interview I did went very well. I got a lot of information and I was able to split it up well enough to have the copy, video and audio elements covey different information and come together to tell a whole story. I think that I did well with my video in that I had a variety of good shots and they worked well with the story being told by my interview subject or what I was saying with my voice over. I think that the photos that I used were also well done and appropriate to the story and my audio element was fairly clear and told an interesting angle on the story. This was my first story that really all came together from different elements to form one big story with such a short turn around time. At my school back in Canada we would be given much more time to do a story like this but it would be expected to be a bigger and longer story so it was interesting and a very valuable experience to do this on a harder schedule. This is definitely something I will be able to take back to my program in Canada and even after I’m done school; knowing that I am capable of doing these quicker turn around stories to a good standard of journalism.
What I will take away.
I had an excelent time in this class and will take away a lot of valuable skills I learned and experiences I had back home to Canada. Some of the things I will take back include:
I would like to try to do more presenting, I need to work on my presenting skills and the experience I had here definitely helped and made me realize that it is a valuable skill to have.
It will be very beneficial for me to have some international experience from studying abroad. This will look good on my resume when I look for jobs.
I really enjoyed doing fast turn around stories and having experience doing them will help me moving forward as this is not experience I would get at school back home.
In the future I would also like to try to push to do more writing and photography. I did enjoy all the presenting and everything else I did but I am mostly interested in writing and photography so I think making that more clear with my team mates and editors might help me go down that path.