As the winner of the UnLtd Community Reporters Challenge in March, Rachel Walker got to spend a day with BBC Scotland. She impressed them enough to be invited back for five days of work experience on the News desk last week. In this blog, Rachel gives us an insight into the fast paced life of a national reporter.
My time spent at the BBC, working alongside the extremely talented news team, proved to be a huge learning curve for me in terms of reporting and writing.
When I arrived on the Monday morning I was welcomed by some of the management team at the BBC (these initial meetings were key to broadening my contacts within the broadcasting industry). Although the staff were extremely busy they were very keen to offer guidance and support throughout the week. I began my morning by completing some of the mandatory computing courses on the BBC Academy programme such as Data Protection, Safeguarding and Production Safety. These courses offered me a brief overview of some of the issues involved with working for such a well respected organisation.
My afternoon proved to be a great deal more challenging as I attempted to get to grips with the software and programmes used by the BBC to upload and edit any footage, audio clips and copy. For someone who is not at all technically minded I gave it my best shot and by the end of the day I felt I had made some progress. The audio I had been given to edit was an interview that had been recorded that afternoon and was to be ready for use on the drive time news bulletin that evening. It became very clear to me just how fast paced the news desk was. There always seemed to be new pieces of news filtering in throughout the day that had to be ready for broadcasting.
On Tuesday I was given the task of sifting through a very lengthy report in order to extract vital pieces of information that I thought would be relevant to the BBC North East, Orkney and Shetland audience. Once I had jotted down these points I had to formulate the information into what was known as ‘copy.’ This had to be no more than 30 seconds long which worked out at around 120 words (not as easy as it seems when you have to make it sound punchy, intriguing and include all the vital details).
The highlight of my week had to be getting to ride in the satellite van to get to the location where one of the reporters was going live for the evening news feed. I was amazed at how little time the reporter had to gather all the relevant details for the report, write it up and learn it before delivering what seemed like a well rehearsed, clear and concise broadcast on live television. As the few minutes before the 6.30 news approached I could hear the producers and presenters from the BBC Glasgow studio talking into my headphones (it sounded like lots of voices all talking at once making it very difficult to concentrate) but the reporter wasn’t faced by this at all and remained calm throughout.
Its safe to say my week at the BBC was eventful; from running around Aberdeen trying to find subjects for a report on ‘selfies’ to making calls to press officers about interviewing a skipper, oh and not forgetting the all important coffee runs!!!