Inside Channel 4

Inside Channel 4

I had the opportunity to see how Channel 4 produced its content this week, it was intriguing to note the similarities and differences between the newsrooms of Channel 4 and London360, in addition to my experience at university. Channel 4 news is part of the ITN headquarters and is produced by the same organisation (also making rivals ITV news), which has been airing since 1982. The show tends to be more dynamic with its content than competitors and has won various awards on a comparatively smaller budget.

Much of the structure is the same, editorials will take place at the beginning of the week and if the content is green lit the piece is gone ahead with. Of course the turnover of content is a lot faster and with various departments in control of specific tasks (i.e. there would have been journalists who shot footage which may then be put together from the rushes by someone else) the micromanagement was interesting to see. Of course the staff would all be multimedia journalists but it was interesting to witness the efficient structure pitches, packages & post went through.

Among the most interesting facet of news production was seeing a music piece on Rudimental & Goldie by my manager being edited in post and the meticulous vigilance to make sure it ticked all the boxes for TV. Channel 4’s in-house lawyer for instance watched over the feature in edit to ensure product placement & promotion was absent and fair dealing applied, whilst this was occurring there was still a possibility the piece would be going out that evening (It was to go out the following Sunday in the end) on the 7pm news which naturally added an element of pressure to the production.

Perhaps the most illuminating aspect of going behind the scenes at C4 was the immensely high pressure of the gallery. The gallery is the live putting-together & running of the news (as seen in the photo below) with the producer orchestrating the direction of the show. There is a set-list of the stories and their duration, alongside speaking to their correspondents whilst off-air to make sure they’re cued for when they go live. It was especially tense given the refugee crisis in Syria meant that many of the C4 journalists were reporting from the middle-east and Hungary, including Europe editor Matt Frei who featured prominently throughout the show from Budapest. Krishnan Guru-Murthy was the studio presenter for that evenings news and the switch through between packages, live pieces to camera & interviewing and then back to packages and live PTC throughout that hour duration between him and Matt was seamless, as it looks on television, yet the execution of the show could be done by only the best in the business, and that was something I was fortunate enough to witness.

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