Ewan Macintosh: 07483 243 303 / 020 8470 2611
Brenda Hodson: 07814 901737
Megan French:07504 234062
Ewan Macintosh: 07483 243 303 / 020 8470 2611
Brenda Hodson: 07814 901737
Megan French:07504 234062
As part of my role as a producer of the liveblog/news website, I was to keep all social media accounts that were linked to the news website updated on any new developments in stories, news articles and promoting other City programmes including TV, radio and podcast.
On the group’s WhatsApp chat, I pitched an idea for a social media video to the other producers and began researching more on a coronavirus vaccine myth-busting video. Celebrities including comedian Romesh Ranganathan, singer Beverley Knight, actor Adil Ray and Sadiq Khan addressed cultural challenges and concerns around the vaccine in ethnic minority communities. After the 9:30 am briefing, I started getting footage for my video. Despite multiple attempts at changing my password and David resetting my account, AP video did not let me log in and access any footage. I was helped by the other producers who sent me the footage I needed via WeTransfer. If I were to do this role again in the future, I would ensure that I had access to Associated Press the night before the Newsday so that I would not have to rely on other people to send me videos. This would make the production of social videos better, easier and more efficient.
As I was waiting to receive the footage from Acacia, I looked at the WordPress site and drafted tweets from posts that the reporters were putting into the backend. I sourced images, used relevant hashtags and made a call-to-action to make ensure that the tweets had an as good engagement as possible both on Twitter and Instagram. I think this was an effective use of my time as I was able to man the social media pages as the other producers were producing their packages.
I used Premiere Pro to edit my social video together, using the original myth-busting video, AP footage, appropriate music and graphics. The video was around 1 minute long and as I exported it, there were technical issues. I waited for 30 minutes for the video to render however it was still not working. I liaised with the technical support staff through Teams, but still, there was no luck. I researched online and watch tutorials to rectify the exporting issues I was having. I spoke to my team on Zoom and explained my situation with David and my editor, Mia who both were very understanding of my situation. If I was given the opportunity to this role again, I would have another laptop available to use if mine was to have some technical issues. I would also use different software if Abode Premiere Pro was not responding, perhaps iMovie to edit the clips together. I was disappointed that I was unable to showcase my social video on the Newsday as it would have been a good addition to the liveblog stream on Arena.
Despite the technical difficulties ruining my social video, I wanted to support my team so I formatted videos from the other producers to upload to the social media accounts. Acacia’s video was 1m44s which is too long for an Instagram post so I decided to use IGTV to upload the full video. However, I had some issues as the video was square and IGTV is a portrait, the video was not able to be seen in full. I decided to upload 1 minute of the video as a post to rectify this problem.
If I were to do this Newsday again, I would make sure to look for any latest developments in stories that were being written for the website so that there was always new, fresh information in the articles, as some of the stories were a day old.
As part of my role as reporter for the news website, I was responsible for pitching ideas to my editor. I prepared in advance and researched some stories that would be relevant to the date of publication. I was liaised with Cat about what topics she would like to focus on and began looking for an interviewee for one story. If I were to do this role again, I would make sure to have 2 or 3 stories prepped and interviews ready for them as I underestimated how much I would have been able to write.
I sourced a relevant interviewee for my summer holiday article who gave me some great quotes. If given the opportunity to this role again, I would also try to talk to a travel expert to shed some light on the topic instead of just relying on a case study to illustrate the issue. Additionally, I would also aim for 1-2 interviews for each story so as to give the audience an overview of the story with case studies and expert opinions.
I contributed to the live blog by writing a short post on the likelihood that children could return to schools in March. If given the chance to do this role again, I would try to write more for the live blog, so as to support my team further.
After I had submitted my articles for review and liaised with the editorial team, I began updating my published articles by checking all appropriate news sources to see if there had been any developments. I came across a statement that had recently been released by Jet2 which was relevant to my story. I hyperlinked the original statement and explained the development in my article. If I could do this role again in the future, I would keep TweetDeck open so that I am able to keep up to date with anything new happening that could be relevant for any of my articles written. I also would keep looking at a range of news sources so as to update all articles with the newest information.
David bought it to my attention that part of one of my articles (drop in London coronavirus cases) had an issue. I had said something that was not attributed to any source, despite it being a fair assumption, it was cut from the article. In the future, if I were to be an online reporter again, I would ensure that all my stories were full of attributions to their original sources and not based on assumptions as this is not in line with professional, ethical journalistic values.
At the debrief, David mentioned that there was an inconsistent reporting style in terms of tenses and dates. To rectify this in the future, I would keep a close eye on my writing, referring to the Guardian style guide if I have any queries and thoroughly read over my work before submitting it for review.
As part of my role of a radio reporter, I was to pitch stories and source appropriate interviewees. I pitched a story about the Kent mutated strain of COVID-19, then I tried to get an interview with an expert on epidemiology and with someone who lives in Kent who has had coronavirus. After many emails, calls and tweets, I was unable to get an academic or a Kent resident to shed light on the Kent variant. If I was to do this Newsday again, I would try contacting people who weren’t from SAGE, as when I was calling these people, they were on BBC being interviewed. Getting interviewees who are not in high demand would be a better approach so that I can still get an expert’s opinion.
I changed my idea after failing to secure an interviewee for my first idea. I chose to report on dogs and the effects lockdown has on behaviour as I found a recent survey from the pet company, Itch. The survey found that 1 in 3 dogs bought over lockdown hasn’t been to a park due to lockdown. I contacted a dog behaviour specialist based in London to shed some light on the problems lockdown creates. Ewan Mackintosh, from Dog Behaviourist London, interviewed a phone call. In hindsight, I should have asked for a zoom interview as the signal wasn’t very good, meaning that the audio quality wasn’t as clear as I would have liked it to be. If I was to do this again, I would make sure that my interview is done via zoom, ensuring that the audio is of high quality.
I wanted a case study to illustrate what it is like to have a puppy during the lockdown, so I found a woman who bought a puppy during the pandemic. She was good to talk to and gave some insight into how she has tackled the issue of separation anxiety with her dog. If I was to do this Newsday again, I would try to get a case-study interviewee who is based in London, as Meg is from Leicester which is not as relevant as a London interviewee would be to our City Radio audience.
I sat with a blanket over me as I used my iPhone and headphones to record my VoiceOver to reduce the background noise. Since I live next to a busy road and used amateur recording equipment, the audio was of satisfactory quality. I was not completely happy with my VoiceOver so if I was to do this role again, I would invest in a microphone to ensure that my recordings sound professional.
I edited my package on Audition, adding in creative use of sound of puppies to set the scene. Due to the fast turnaround, I edited my audio quickly which is evident from my final package which has some errors. My edits overall were good but has some mistakes. I would take more time to cut the audio and even out the volume levels if given another attempt to make this package. I would also try to prepare for the Newsday the day before, by researching stories to give me more time to edit my audio together.
Once I finished my package, I liaised with Ilham who put my package into Burli. I also wrote a cue for the presenters and put this into our shared Google Docs. I asked other people in my group if they needed any assistance so that I could support other members of my team.
As part of my role as bulletin editor, I was in charge of creating a bulletin that was informative, clear and relevant to the City Radio audience. I began the night before by sourcing the most important stories and following the latest developments closely across different news sites. I wrote the most important stories into bite-sized, understandable chunks and put them into Burli, along with appropriate soundbites embedded to guide the listener. I liaised with Akshay, our editor and with the tech and production team to create a cohesive bulletin.
After listening to the previous bulletin, I had an idea of the sort of bulletin I needed to make. I decided on 8 stories, 4 copy-stories and 4 with soundbites, adding some extra information. This amount of stories would be around 3 mins long, the length of the bulletin I needed to make. In addition to the bulletin, I also wrote the headlines that would be read by the presenters, I was mindful of keeping a London story in the headlines to give the audience a well-rounded account of the top stories of the day in their area.
I worked with the bulletin reader, Kani, making sure she was comfortable with the copy I was writing, as she would be reading it. I was keen on making sure that throughout the bulletin, there was a conversational style that reflected the target audience and what they like to listen to. During our debrief, the group was praised on their use of conversational language.
The stories that featured in the bulletin included: Novavax vaccine, UEA travel ban, NHS mental health beds being full, WHO investigating COVID origin, a study showing inequalities in health, Gamestop shares, murder in Islington and Black MPs encouraging people to get the vaccine. I put them into different running orders so I could see which ones were most newsworthy.
During the hour before we were on air, there were some new developments with stories that featured in the bulletin. I was quick at changing some of the details and updating the bulletin so that it was as accurate and timely as possible. I featured a story about the new vaccine by Johnson and Johnson but found that under very strict time pressures, that it was difficult to communicate an entire story in 20 words. I realised during the show that the wording of that story was not as good as I hoped it would be. I noticed that I had said that the vaccine was ‘100% effective’, this was inaccurate as the vaccine was only 100% effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths from COVID-19. I realised that this was misleading and not something that should have featured in the show. If I was to do this again, I would ask for help from the producers, so that they could have a look through my copy before it was put into Burli and help me to produce copy under strict time constraints.
During the show, there were breaking stories that needed coverage. I was responsible for sourcing these new stories and putting them appropriately into the headlines and bulletins. Due to some issues (live interviewees cancelling), I was told that 5 minutes was needing to be filled in the show so that it wasn’t short. I added in news stories to the 3:30 pm headlines to help to fill in this spare time. By aiding my team, we were only 20s short of time, which overall, was successful.
Once I was finished with my bulletin, I asked the editorial team if they needed any assistance. I helped Amy by communicating with the presenters and explaining some details to them whilst Amy was busy.
If given the chance to do this role again, I would make more use of Kani as the bulletin reader so that I could have more support in creating stories in a short space of time.
On the Newsday, as a part of my role as subeditor I was supporting the team with story ideas and content from our 9:30 am meeting. I was able to source two interviews (a James Bond super-fan and a musician) for the entertainment section ran by Laura. I supported and worked closely with my team and with Holly, our editor – writing content for both the live blog and new site posts. I found that the high intensity that the Newsday brought made me work harder and faster to complete tasks promptly. If I was to do my role again, I would have some stories ready before the 9:30 am briefing as that I could get on with writing and posting content as soon as possible.
I wrote one article about Tower Hamlets’ £330,000 fine for the death of a child in a park. After not having a login for Press Association, I used the BBC to source my story, but found this to bring problems as the council’s statement about the incident did not feature in the BBC’s article. After searching online, I found the source and quoted that in my post. I will be more vigilant with the sourcing of my quotes and information as I want to be as legal in my reporting as possible.
In addition to this article, I also covered the news that a serving police officer had died from COVID-19. I was mindful that in my writing I was respectful to the bereaved family.
After having previous experience working WordPress, I found the posting of the news stories easy to some extent. I had to get used to the layout of the City University new site which is different from the design I am familiar with. After David explained to me where the stand-firsts and positions the articles should be, I had no problems. I supported other members of my team who were not as proficient in WordPress.
The team called via zoom and communicated through a WhatsApp group to keep communication and copy flowing as best as possible. I found this to be an effective way of working remotely however after lunch, as there was a back-up of stories to be approved I think the team got confused and lost in the subediting process. There was a lot of information being communicated throughout our team and at times it became difficult to hear one another. To rectify this problem in the future, I would set up a Google Drive with a spreadsheet with a list of all the articles, who is writing them, who is editing them and if it has been approved. I think this would help everyone to be aware of their tasks and keep everything in order.
I think a few of the issues that we faced as a team could be attributed to this being the first week of these remote-working Newsdays and there were some initial problems, such as with the Press Association logins, WordPress issues and the live blog delays. I would be prepared to rectify any of these issues if I was to do this Newsday again. To aid any future students in a live blog Newsday, I would recommend getting familiar with the WordPress system and how it works with the liveblog software.
Walking into Nando’s, wearing a full length fur coat, platform trainers and flashing his pink hair, Harry oozes confidence. His base makeup is flawless and his highlighter strikes me instantly. This use of cosmetics is something he does daily and has become part of his style. “My friends” he tells me, “say that I’d look like a normal person if I didn’t wear makeup.”
Harry, 19, who is originally from Surrey, describes it as being very different to London. If he goes out wearing mascara and foundation in his hometown compared to the capital city, he recalls how people often look at him. This is something that doesn’t bother Harry though; he explains how the people that he is with will notice them staring.“But I don’t care, he tells me in a self-assured way.
His makeup experimentation started at 16 and was inspired by Miss Fame (a drag performer who starred in season 7 of the award-winning reality show, RuPaul’s Drag Race) and Bella Hadid (an American model). This was around 2016, a time when Instagram and YouTube influencers like James Charles and Jeffree Star were becoming increasingly popular online.
Today, there is a growing number of young men who are breaking norms surrounding gender and self expression. The technological revolution of the 2000s is allowing for new forms of masculinity to be explored. Social media, in Harry’s case helped him immensely, after growing up in a town where he didn’t have anyone that he identified with. He says, “I was the only gay person in my school really, I was able to go on social media and find a thousand other people who were in a similar position to me.”
From scrolling through posts and statuses, digital platforms allowed Harry, to connect with some of the queens who are part of the London drag scene. One of the more well-known friends of Harry’s is Paul (also know as Bones) who, at the time of meeting him had only been doing drag for 3 months. “Being friends with one queen made me friends with all of them.” says Harry, as he tucks into a chicken thigh. From meeting Bones, he made acquaintances with Smiley Vryus, Gothy Ken Doll and Baby Face, this also allowed him to get the opportunity to do some photography work at an event called Plaztik Party.
Harry has his own definition of ‘drag’, which is “glueing down” his eyebrows, however others consider him to be in drag constantly, since he wears makeup all the time. He has only been out wearing heavy makeup twice, both occasions he went to Heaven – a gay nightclub in Soho that he speaks highly of. He gets out his phone and shows me a picture of my makeup that night – he has an obvious talent for the art.
Men and boys wearing makeup is not something that is new. Historically, men have painted their nails, lightened their cheeks and darkened their eyes. Most notably, the Ancient Egyptians wore primitive eye liner and plucked their brows. More recently were the pop icons of the 1970’s and 80’s (including Prince and David Bowie) who, as Harry put it: reflected the “androgyny of men at the time, with flares and platforms. The rock bands all would wear makeup and Freddie Mercury too, they were all accepted back then.”
The media throughout the late 80’s right up until the beginning of the 2000s, provided young people with role models who reinforced hyper-masculine stereotypes. The popularity of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis as well as others, gave boys who were growing up then, only one model of how a man should be: tough, heterosexual, dominant and a real ‘man’s man’. To some extent this has all changed, with different versions of men now appearing, however some people still have negative opinions regarding Harry’s choice of fashion and expression.
When asked about his family’s attitudes towards wearing makeup use, he tells me how positive they were. He mentions that they had questions but reiterated that his mum was supportive constantly. He started off by stealing his older sister’s makeup and then was given a few items by her. “We went makeup shopping” he tells me, “and my mum got me some Mac stuff. It wasn’t my colour or anything but I couldn’t wait to put it on”.
Harry told me that because of how he looks, he has been assaulted twice, which is unfortunately all too common for those who differ from societies conventions. He mentioned being aware that if his older siblings had not been attending college when he did, that he would have gotten severely bullied. All this, has made him “want to wear makeup more.” He says that he shouldn’t have to justify why he wears it because “girls don’t have to.” His use of cosmetics is worn, “in a kind of ‘fuck you’ way in regards to what everyone thinks”.
Lars von Trier’s final film, The House That Jack Built is beautifully directed and impressively portrayed, yet sensationally cliché ridden. The story follows Jack, everyone’s favourite serial killer and his ‘5 incidents’, featuring the ‘best of’ highlights from his murderous career.
Throughout the film, Jack (played by Matt Dillon, who performed exceptionally) progresses from being almost a relatable character to someone who is a shadow of his former self. Perhaps such a transformation is accurate in describing a killer’s mental journey, however this felt too predictable. The backstory to Jack, featured a childhood version of himself and his exploration of death from a young age. In my opinion, von Trier at this moment destined the character of Jack to a violent life with his progression into adulthood equally lacking remorse. This was too obvious, following the narrative that every serial killer once butchered animals before moving onto people seemed tired and lacked deep thought to me.
Jack narrates the film as he speaks or confesses rather, to the unknown ‘Verge’ throughout. He is self aware of everything he does and tells the audience of his mental illnesses through the use white cards that he holds. His ability to overcome his OCD miraculously with murderous ‘therapy’ gave the impression that his violent actions were a good thing as I found myself sympathising with Jack. This was during the first two incidents, the rest were a different story.
The camera work was undoubtedly gorgeous and made graphic scenes seem poetic. This was paired with constant artistic references that distracted me from the already chaotic storyline and tried too hard to differ from the horror genre. To make up for the underdeveloped narrative, various scenes were horrifying for the sake of it, offering the audience disgusting images that failed to strengthen the movie. Towards the end of the 3rd incident, I had to stop and leave my laptop for a minute – the harrowing picture of Grumpy haunted me as I finished the film.
I felt a lack of escapism as I watched this, the parallels between this 1970/80’s world was undeniably similar to the America experienced under Trump’s reign, the 3rd incident highlighted this with the red caps worn. The monologue given by Jack prior to the slaughter of the family left me shaking my head as it mirrored society today to some extent.
After experiencing all that the movie had to offer, I was tired. I was given no solid ending to Jack’s earthly fate except that he did the unthinkable – which by this time was the most thinkable thing that could have happened. The depths of hell was a fitting ending but not satisfying enough.
It was undeniable that the film was good, reflecting on it as a whole I felt that Matt Dillon’s acting was superb and very convincing. He easily embodied many of the lovely qualities stereotypical of a crazed madman. The scenery was serene and calm, a clever contrast to the story, making this was one of my favourite elements. It felt forced and was a little disappointing for me, I enjoyed some parts but I couldn’t experience this again for a while.
2 years may seem like a short time but with what seems like never-ending note taking, revision and exams, it can feel like a lifetime.
Although the final A Level exams take place in the last term of sixth form, working hard in your first year of study is essential. After all, with the new linear A Levels, first year content will make up half of your overall A Level. So, making comprehensive notes for ‘AS’ is very, very helpful. This will take the pressure off slightly as you will understand the first year learning, which is likely to be built upon during your second year, making everything a little bit easier. Along with this, constant revision is needed, in order to keep year-old information fresh in your mind, ready for your exams.
I have always known what I wanted to do at university and beyond, and this was the driving force for me during my two years of intense study. Knowing that I was working towards my dream job made me keep on pushing myself when A Levels become hard.
If you aren’t as lucky as I was and don’t know what you want to do after college then the summer before you start a two year study course is the perfect opportunity for you to explore possible options for you after you finish. You may not get a definite answer but you may have some idea of where you may be headed once your A Levels are done. Having some ideas in mind will be helpful as you start studying as your school or college will be able to help you explore what you could venture into.
Remember that you may change your mind during your studying as you may enjoy some subjects more than others, taking you into a different direction, but as long as you are focussing on what your future may hold – it makes the two years more bearable.
Knowing what you need to do and in what order is crucial, especially when mock and real exams are around the corner. Most A Level subjects have lots of content and making sure everything is in order makes you less stressed when it comes to compiling notes and posters.
Whether you use colour to code your notes, make gigantic information-filled posters or produce helpful flashcards, ensuring that you have a revision method that works for you makes it so much easier to revise in advance for any tests coming up. This organisation helps long term too, as you will have all your revision ready for the all important exams at the end of your two years.
Yes, A Levels are hard and what may be seen as a unceasing slog but they aren’t supposed to be completely unbearable. They simply are not for everyone and realising this after taking your final exams and not getting the grades you wanted or needed may be too late as you may have wasted two years. My advice would be that after a year, if your grades do not reflect the hard work you are putting in then other options should then be considered in order to help you find a path more suited to your needs and ability.
Apprenticeships or alternative courses may be better for you and shouldn’t be disregarded. Many people change their minds and take a different path of study which more often than not is the best thing for them. Nevertheless, work hard even if you find A Levels tough, you are likely to get good grades with using lots of effort and having a strong work ethic.
Subject choice is vital when undertaking A Levels. Having a passion for a subject will make you likely to do better in it as you will enjoy it due to you having an interest in the area. Taking a subject that you have done well in at GSCE level may give you some indication as to if you will succeed in it at A Level, this is just an indication however as some people may not do as well in their chosen area due to the academic ‘step up’ that A Levels are.
Juggling a vibrant social life, a part-time job and ensuring you are studying hard is so hard during those two years of study. So, naturally sacrifices need to be made to make sure that you achieve the absolute most you can at A Level.
You have lots of time during university and beyond when you can go out and party so during your two years at A Level try to limit your attendance at social events
My last piece of advice: Bear in mind that although they may feel like the hardest thing that you’ve ever done but working hard throughout both of your years will make you a lot more likely to get the grades you want, rather than cramming in all of the content in a month or two. You can get through your exams, don’t worry.
Waking up at 6am definitely was not music to my ears, but I knew getting up early and being ready for my day visiting City, University Of London would be worth it.
The quick journey from St Pancras Station to Angel was one that I hoped I would soon become familiar with. The short walk from the tube station to Northampton Square took my parents and I through the streets of London – this was something that I wanted to make a daily occurrence for me. The quiet bustle that I could hear from outside the university building coming from the London traffic was everything that I wanted.
The amazing journalism facilities were industry standard and I felt as if I was in a real newsroom, walking around university I was more than ready to work as hard as I could to ensure that I spent my three years training to be a journalist at City.
My parents and I went on tours around the campus and the accommodation close by. As we neared the end of the open day it was clear that the university ticked every box: location, degree content, atmosphere.
I left with my head filled with motivation to succeed in my studies, all in the hope to get into a university like City.
(Thank you to Tom Felle, the lecturer I met who was so welcoming and to all the student ambassadors who made me feel so comfortable!)