The Sky’s the limit…

3 12 2012

Our multi media journalism MA students trotted off to Osterley in south west London to visit the Sky newsroom the other day. Here’s what one of them, Henry Bull, had to say about the experience (and doesn’t it just make you want to be in that newsroom…)

Yesterday me and my jolly troupe of proto-journos headed to Sky News HQ in Osterley to get a taste for how a modern 24-hour broadcaster operates. Our broadcast lecturer, Mark Longhurst, is an anchor at the station, so we were promised access most tour groups wouldn’t get. So, what juicy insider knowledge did we get?

Firstly, presenting the news is bloody hard. Any preconceptions that anchors sit there looking pretty and reading an autocue are completely unfounded. As chance would have it we’d arrived on the day the Leveson report was published, a vital moment for the fate of British press. The program that day was coming from Sky’s Westminster studio but a presenter was sat in the anchor’s chair constantly, reading from her sheet of notes, ready to leap in and talk authoritatively on whatever subject was being discussed at a moments notice should the feed go down or some segment didn’t go to plan – which of course it didn’t. Frequently. All this while producers rabbited in her ear, cameras whizzed around, and a group of annoyingly enthusiastic students took photos and chatted loudly ten foot away. On top of this, she’d be sat in that  swivelly leather chair for seven hours. Seven hours, under butter-meltingly hot lights in which she had to be poised to react constantly. Exhausting.

Secondly, doing the weather is also bloody hard. We had a go, complete with much giggling and innuendos about it being “wet down south”, and every single one of us was absolute rubbish. Turns out blindly pointing at a giant map behind you while occasionally glancing at a tiny mirrored image to see whether your accidentally obscuring Wales while thinking of another new way to say rain and worrying about what a twat you look is actually quite hard – and that’s without having done all the meteorological research beforehand. Who’d of thought eh?

Thirdly, getting a job is – you guessed it – bloody hard. TV news is a popular job and you can see why. The newsroom is alive. There’s a constant flurry of activity, with dozens of people doing small, incomprehensible but vital things in tiny rooms for a common goal. There seems a real sense of urgency and teamwork; of all parts working together to produce this rolling, non-stop barrage of news and all the associated components: online, radio, tablet, graphics, HD-only content – the list goes on. And on. And on. So yes, it’s a hugely desirable place to work, if only to feel your finger is firmly on the pulse of the world – personally, that’s something I would love to get from my job.

Sadly, as a middle class white male with a very English sounding moniker and a non-regional accent I’m pretty much unemployable, or so I’m told, so maybe it’s time for a name change. Whatever – until next time, this has been Journal of a Student Journo and I’m Javeena Patel – I never much liked Henry anyway.

Back to you Dave.

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