Thursday, 22 March 2018

BBC School Report 2018 – Live from Broadcasting House

Written by Holly and Melissa – Year 8/9 student reporters

On Thursday 15th March, 16 Whitley Academy students and two teachers arrived at Coventry train station, feeling very excited for the big day ahead. Even though it was wet outside, we didn’t let it dampen our spirits, and there was a warm buzz of excitement in the air. We were briefed that some of us would work with the BBC journalists for live interviews (yes! Live television interviews!) and the rest of us would work with the online and radio teams. The anticipation and the excitement sent shivers up and down our spines.

At 8:11 am, the red Virgin train pulled in, and we all got on and took our seats. Some of us were even allocated seats in the First Class coaches!

At 9:15 am, we reached London Euston station, and made our way to BBC Broadcasting House after leaving Oxford Circus underground. On entering the building, we received yellow lanyards and badges and went through security. Everybody was amazed when we looked out over the glass work in the BBC newsroom. We got shown to the escalators and taken to a hall. We were divided into two groups: ‘A’ for the workshop, and ‘B’ for the broadcasting activities.

We spotted John Cena (the WWE American professional wrestler) and had a chat with him after his interview on the radio. How exciting! Then group ‘A’ got taken down to the piazza (the public square right in front of the BBC Entrance) for a workshop on the recording equipment the BBC take out to record different stories. First we were shown the Editing Van, and even got to have a go to swap between cameras. It seemed unreal that each of us was given access to the professional cameras to experience how real filming was. Secondly, we were taken to the Recording Van and allowed to record something we believed to be interesting.

In the meantime, the other group were recording for the live BBC radio, and playing the new game IReporter.

After all this, both groups went back to the hall and got to interview some BBC presenters. The conversation was very honest and open-minded. This was a snapshot of what we were talking about;

Q: What made you decide to be a journalist?

A: “A very long time ago, I think I was nosy and I quite liked the idea of going around and asking people what made them think about what they were doing and I was nosy about the world. I wanted to know what was going on. So I thought being a journalist was a good thing”.
A: “To be a presenter you meet the most interesting people in the world and doing the most interesting things. You need to have passion for learning and passion for understanding how people work and how things work. It is never boring. Every day is different”.
A: “I think human beings are story-tellers. We like to tell stories and to hear stories. Journalists can do this”.

Q: What are your ‘top tips’ for young reporters like us to go into journalism?

A: “Keep practising, keep doing things. There are more opportunities now with social media to get your work out there to an audience. Keep knocking on doors and never take no for an answer! Have a passion for the job you want to do”.
A: “If you have an idea for a story, go for it. Send a picture. Keep writing. Write a blog. Do YouTube. There are so many ways to keep practising”.

Q: What is your guilty pleasure?

A: “I enjoy watching as much drama as possible. I often tell my kids I am working so that they leave me alone and keep on watching drama, and sometimes comedies”.
A: “Drinking coffee and listening to the news”.

Back to the happenings of the day.

At 1:15 pm, whilst we were having our lunch break, the BBC Director-General, Mr Tony Hall, came to talk to us about the game ‘IReporter’. A moment like that made us feel privileged to be able to be present inside BBC Broadcasting House and to meet Mr Tony Hall – the CEO of the BBC, the world’s oldest national broadcasting organisation!

Mrs Nguyen (our teacher), spoke with Tony and asked him to keep supporting the BBC School Report Teams so that young people across the UK could have the opportunity to make the news and report for a real life audience. We felt humble to listen to our teacher talk to Tony, she shared her personal story as a child and the mental attachment to the BBC. She received a big hug and a handshake from the Director-General after that, such an emotionally proud moment.

Then everybody went down to the green room to see Melissa, Omonigho, and John being interviewed by the BBC News Reporter, Noel Phillips. It was fascinating to be able to see how the captions were put on the television, to tell you who the people being interviewed were, and how the BBC staff had to keep changing cameras for all broadcasting programmes throughout the day.

Later on, we went down to the piazza again. All of us had the opportunity to explore the BBC recording equipment and spend time on the broadcasting trucks. It was fascinating to discover many pieces of recording equipment and how communication was made between the broadcasting vans and the BBC staff inside the BBC Broadcasting House. Some of us even managed to hold the massive cameras and see how heavy the equipment was.

The Piazza became more crowded with students from schools around the UK, especially when Huw Edwards, a long standing newsreader of the BBC, made an appearance. Once again Jack, John and Melissa got the golden opportunity to sit down and interview the Director-General, whilst many of us gathered around Huw Edwards for lots of questions. Huw was very personable, and told us how he got to where he was now. He started as a trainee for the BBC. From his words, we immediately realised how lucky we are to be able to do what we have been doing in the reporters’ team back in school.

Before the end of the day, we went back to the 4th floor, and all of us were taken to the ‘GREEN ROOM’ to watch Ellie, Eve, and Duncan on the BBC News channel, being interviewed by Huw Edwards. They were outstanding and answered questions very intelligently live on television. We felt so proud with all of our effort.

As the day came to a close, before leaving the BBC Broadcasting House, a BBC security guard approached and told us a fact about the cameras in the Newsroom: all the cameras are actually controlled by robots that move around by themselves on a specially designed train track. We spent the last precious moments to stare at the Newsroom! Wow!

For many of us, the train ride back to Coventry was quiet and reflective. We thought about all of the memories made today and all of the new paths that had been opened. Many students thought about their potential of becoming part of the BBC in the future.

Reflection is one of the most important things you can do on a day like this, a day we will never forget, a day full of inspiration, a day where dreams were fulfilled and created.

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