In the thick of it – MA student reports on MP fracas

16 11 2012

There’s nothing better as a journalism student that finding yourself in the middle of a breaking news story.

One of our MA students Nick Chowdrey was studying in class on the University of Sussex campus this week when Hove MP Mike Weatherly got into a spot of bother.

Here’s his blog post….

Today I had the chance to engage in some real life reporting!

At approximately 13:50 the fire alarm sounded during my Journalism in Transition lecture in the Silverstone Building on the University of Sussex campus. We quietly filed out to the front of the building, where we noticed a riot van had parked outside on the road.

Nothing seemed to be happening, so I went across the courtyard to get a coffee. Suddenly, a huge amount of shouting and banging erupted from the entrance to Silverstone. I looked over and saw a group of 20-30 people swarming the police van as it tried to pull away.

Officers were battering people off the sides of the van. I left my coffee behind and ran outside, taking video footage.

I spoke to two young girls shortly after I stopped filming who told me that they were squatters protesting about the recent criminalisation of squatting in the UK. They had chased Mike Weatherley, MP for Hove – who was due to give a lecture on the subject at the university that day – into the building. Police were called in to rescue him.

Daisy Stevens – one of the young squatters, who can be seen in the above video wearing a red jumper and black scarf – told me that they were angry at the dawn evictions taking place across Brighton. Daisy’s friend, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “we want him to be as frightened as we are.”

Putting into practice my two months of journalistic training, I immediately tweeted on the issue and my video was posted up on The Argus website:

Apparently, the BBC now has the video and it may be used tonight on South East today. Although I’m not sure how they’ll get round the amount of swearing… Either way, exciting times for the aspiring video journalist that I am!

The experience was incredibly thrilling. The wobble from the video is so bad because my hands were shaking with adrenaline. It reminded of being on stage – so many bits of information were flooding back to me at once and I was ready for anything.

I can only imagine what it must be like, for instance, for journalists embedded in areas of conflict.  I’ve always wondered what could possibly attract people to do that job – now I think I understand a little better.




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