I’ve spent the last week on work experience at the regional Heart newsroom in Bristol, working with the team there on stories from all around Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Bristol and Somerset.
Traveling in by train each day, the sound of the PA announcements has become engraved in to my brain!
The work I was doing was mainly writing copy for the following day’s bulletins, and selecting clips from audio to be used in the bulletins.
I did get out and about a few times too – doing a couple of vox pops (that basically means stopping a few random people on the street to ask them a question – something which I find to be very scary), going with one of the reporters to record an interview, and sitting in the city’s Castle Park while eating lunch.
This was really my first chance to experience a ‘live’ newsroom environment – being a Radio Production student, there isn’t much in the way of journalism on the course (the journalism students do all that)…and while I am Head of News at Tone, all I really do for that is read the Telegraph, read the Times, read IRN and then make a bulletin out of it.
I made a point each morning of tuning away from Nick Ferrari for a bit each morning, to listen to the bulletins on all 3 Heart stations in the region (Glos, Wilts and West Country (Bristol/Somerset)) – just to get an idea of what was happening that I might be working on, and to find out which stories I’d worked on the previous day were being used. It’s quite satisfying to hear the script I’d written the previous day go out on air – even if it was only a few lines of copy lasting no more than 15 seconds!
It was an interesting week, and I think I got quite a lot out of it… A better understanding of a commercial radio newsroom for a start – just sitting listening to conversations (I do that a lot) can help with that; I’ve become more familiar with Heart’s news style guide too. Keep everything simple: No long Radio 4 style sentences here. I’ve even been telling off my housemates (particularly Dan) when a gramatical error is made.
It’s back to uni and the Tone Radio newsdesk from tomorrow afternoon – maybe I might think more about how I rewrite stories from the papers and cover local news in the future.
There’s not long left though – It is just a few weeks now until I finish my final year of uni – and then I can look forward to 6 weeks in Greece…and working out what to do after that.