The Media Trust is a little gem of creative and community thinking, unobtrusively hovering above White City tube station, just opposite the BBC. The first day felt like it was going to be a test, a challenge; geared up with Apprentice-style speeches running through my head about why I deserved to be on the team I was, once again, thrown completely off course when I walked in the door. Not only were the faces of the Community Channel reporting team friendly, they were familiar; I’d actually met two of them before at other London youth journalistic ventures. Big city, small world!
Being one of the lucky first ever team of young reporters means the chance to not just contribute to a professional television news programme, but to help create it. The first week’s agenda is packed full of branding sessions, editorial and technical training and, naturally, some ice-breaking exercises. Some of the more imaginative ‘fabrications’ in the ‘two lies, one truth’ game included “My Mum was a page-3 model”, “I’ve had £2000 worth of hair extensions”, “I’ve been engaged and divorced” and “I got arrested for slapping Scary Spice”. I’ve got a feeling that this programme will be anything but boring with a team like this!
The main thing that strikes me in the first boardroom meeting for Community Channel London News (as we are rather neutrally named until a title is agreed) is that everyone is really excited about the project. And I don’t just mean the young reporters; the staff at Media Trust seem pretty on board, and eager introductions are made in the kitchenettes throughout the week. Thankfully we have free tea and coffee available on-demand 24/7 and our news editor already has a reputation for relentlessly sending cakes and snacks in our direction (intelligent people know that caffeine and sugar are the key to great story ideas!).
By the end of the week our newspaper board is overflowing with story suggestions, a shortlist of title ideas has been drawn up, we’ve had talks from top industry insiders, sussed out the best of nearby lunch places, memorised the code for the lift and know security by name (the lovely “Steve”). Essentially, we’ve also learnt a lot more about each other’s diverse experience, skills and interests- without making cliché comments about ‘recipes’ and ‘ingredients’, there’s a healthy mix of strengths (and personalities!) and, Hallelujah, a pretty good sense of humour.
I could definitely get used to this.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:
- Ice-breaker games and the constant churning out of cupcakes, coffee and great ideas.
- Learning from top media professionals such as broadcast journalist Vivian Morgan.
- Picking names out of a hat to see who’ll attend the first press conference (George Michael’s pre-tour press conference).
- Becoming incredibly intimate in terms of proximity with fellow London tube commuters!
- Running around White City with a camera practising our tech skills, with less than 50mins to shoot a news story.
- Initial I.T. confusions as we all adjust to the e-macs and realise that webmail will soon start to take over our lives.
- Finding out more about the reporting team through lively, lunch time discussions.
- Discovering the stand in Westfields shopping centre that make fresh, hot pretzels in a gazillion flavours (I think Thursdays will now be known as ‘Pretzel Thursday’)
(Photo: Creative Commons: Dominic’s Pics)