Just like with my trip to BBC North West Tonight, I won a placement at ITN on my birthday, which meant a trip down to the Capital City for the day.
However, I thought I would make the most of winning my placement and decided to make it a three day trip to London, both to make sure I didn’t tire myself out and to do some exploring of our wonderful Capital which I rarely get chance to visit. I headed down early morning on Thursday, July 2 on a comfortable Preston – London Euston train and met one of my University friends on arrival.
I made the most of my first day in London, visiting sights such as Holland Park, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, The London Eye and Piccadilly Circus to name a few. It did make me wonder how the people of London don’t get sore feet on a daily basis though as there is a lot of rushing around, especially on the Underground.
I stayed in University of Westminster Marylebone halls during my stay, it was nice little en-suite University accommodation with a shared kitchen, however I never once saw anyone else in the flat premises during my stay so it felt like it was my own. The accommodation was right across from Baker Street station, so I didn’t have far to walk to get my first underground train to my work placement. The halls had the most incredible view of London buildings if you were lucky enough to be on a high floor like myself. Unluckily for me I was on the wrong side of the building to the shard, which would have been an even more fantastic view to wake up to, but the one I had was good enough for me.
Friday, July 3 was the day of my Work Placement, I hopped on a couple of sweaty and hot underground lines to get to the ITN building and that was the start of a very busy day. The first job of the morning was to sit in the Editorial meeting where there was a discussion of what bits of news would best fit each broadcast i.e lunchtime news, evening news and late news, it was interesting to see people’s opinions on what would fit best and just how much news there was for that day, and a lot of it simply cannot be used because of time constraints. Following this there was another meeting, this time just for the 6:30 news, where programme editor Richard Frediani briefed his team on what he expected to go into the programme and who would be doing what.
This then gave me the opportunity to meet some of the other staff, one of the first that I met was news presenter Alastair Stewart, he gave me some good advice on getting into the business and I also saw him on many occasions during the day where he would always say hello and make me feel welcome. I then sat with one of the ITV 6:30 news staff who was creating a script for a potential package on cystic fibrosis, she showed me how she finds information about the topic and how she narrows down important pieces of newsworthy information.
On the particular day I attended there was a extra broadcast, a minute silence broadcast for the victims of the Tunisia massacre attack. All the staff seemed nervous about this broadcast because it has to be perfect otherwise you can ruin the sentiment of the occasion. Luckily everything went smoothly and there were lovely shots from the beach in Sousse, and of The Queen on her visit to Glasgow.
After this, I was introduced to the graphics team, they showed me some examples of work that they have done to place graphics onto packages to support the information being spoken, they must have one of the hardest and time consuming jobs in the newsroom.
I then got to see a package being edited in preparation for the lunch-time news. The presenter and editor seemed frustrated with the lack of footage they were given but they worked around it very well and still managed to create a nice looking TV package which was used for the lunch-time news. I watched the news from the gallery, and again it was a noisy place to be as the director and PA shouted numbers and codes across the room.
Returning after lunch, another news presenter Ranvir Singh had arrived, with ice creams in tow, can’t complain!
Then it was time for another editorial meeting to lay down the plan for the 6:30 news, both presenters were present at this meeting and everyone seemed happy with the requirements. This meant for the rest of the afternoon I got to shadow a range of people including a girl who live chops ‘bongs’ which are the little snippets of news and the online team who write stories for the Facebook page and the website. Mid-afternoon Alastair Stewart also took me to the TV Studio whilst he recorded his headline previews, then gave me a quick tour of the studio.
As the day drew to a close, I saw the 6:30 news go out live before attending the de-brief where everyone said what went well and what did not. It was a fantastic experience, I got a real insight into all the possible jobs in the ITN newsroom, meeting some great people on the way. One thing I will always remember from the day was being told “It is very hard work but it’s a fantastic job” so when I am working really hard during my news days, I need to remind myself how much I actually enjoy it even though it is a tough job.
After a very busy day at ITN, I returned to my accommodation hoping to relax and get a good sleep, this wasn’t to happen after a huge thunderstorm kept me awake, I heard the loudest thunder I think I have ever heard. I returned home on Saturday, July 4 but I really wanted to stay longer. ITN is definitely a newsroom that I would love to be a part of once I graduate, I hope I can return one day soon.