Monday, 5 October 2009

Guest Blog: Hannah Whelan

Hannah Whelan, an A Level student and sister of my good friend James, shadowed me for a day at ITV in Leeds. I asked her to write a blog about the day. Hopefully it'll give you an insight into what it's like to work on the Calendar programme. Over to Hannah...

"I'm a seventeen year old 6th form student desperate to get into the media industry. After doing work experience at an advertising agency, where my week was packed full of activities, I thought I’d be more than prepared for the ITV Calendar newsroom. But after the first five minutes of the morning news meeting, I realised I was at the start of a very hectic day.

After the morning meeting, Mark introduced me to the important people and equally important equipment in the newsroom - from the graphics team and technical operators, to the weather presenter and programme editor. I then got sent out with a reporter, Kate, and cameraman, Richard. Kate was doing a story on an Asian music event that was about to be held in The Wardrobe in Leeds. I found watching the reporter and camerman at work quite surreal. It was eye opening being behind the camera instead of watching the finished product on TV.

When I returned to the newsroom I was whisked into the gallery to observe the lunchtime news. Scripts were quickly reprinted for the presenters after one or two changes were made by the producer and the PA, who times the bulletin, announced that the programme script predicted duration was six seconds under, which the team saw as a challenge. Being backstage during the programme, I discovered the intense work load put into just one news bulletin. At the end of the bulletin, the weather started and high-fives were exchanged. As soon as the weather finished and the bulletin was off air, the Calendar team were back to work, this time on the main programme at 6pm.

Over lunch, Mark got his teeth stuck into editing and voicing a report for the main programme which had to be finished on a strict time schedule. I called some university press officers to try and find an academic who would speak on an upcoming crime story and saw Mark finish an impressively quick edit of his report.

Everything made it in on time for the six o’clock programme. I found it interesting to notice the difference between a pre-recorded 'as live’ and a genuine live report - sometimes the viewers wouldn't know that an item was pre-recorded. The debrief was a fairly uplifting sum up of the programme as well as a discussion on plans for the tomorrow's stories.

The intensity and buzz of the newsroom was far more intense than I had expected. Everyone is busy working on something for the next bulletin or the main programme. I had an amazing day, seeing how the whole operation worked - from going out with a reporter and cameraman, seeing mark edit a package, watching the gallery team put out a programme and everything else in-between. An enormous thank you to Mark and the team for my exhilarating day."

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