19.02.2021 Role: Liveblog/News site producer

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.

12.02.2021 Role: Online and live blog reporter


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.

5.2.2021: Role: Radio reporter

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.


29.1.2021: Role: Bulletin editor for City Radio


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.


22.1.2021: Role: Subeditor Live blog/News site

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.



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