Students from Catmose College were invited to the Big Bang Science Fair at the NEC, Birmingham, to work on a live TV assignment as part of BBC New School Report with BBC Breakfast Presenter, Steph McGovern. BBC News School Report is an annual project when the BBC turn over roles and airwaves to budding young journalists.
After an early start, the students arrived at the NEC and found Steph presenting live with a group of the young inventors and engineers featured within the fair. Once the broadcast was over, the students were introduced to Steph and her production team and they began to prepare for their first live broadcast, to take place just 20 minutes later. They were all given allocated slots in which they could help Steph interview the young scientists and engineers at the event.
Owen Jarvis, 13, was up first. He worked through the piece with Steph, finding out the names of their interviewees and more about their inventions or roles at the fair. These included the 2016 competition winner and Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, co-presenter of The Sky at Night. Owen later commented that “The whole experience was once in a lifetime and to meet and work with Steph McGovern was truly inspiring”.
Compliments started flying on social media about Owen’s performance. These included:- “Offer him a job BBC he’s a natural, very composed!”, “Well done!”, “Well done to that young lad, excellent job but Steph, let him get a word in”, “How brilliant is young reporter Owen?!”
Next up was Holly Perril, 14, who not only presented and interviewed but was complimented by BBC presenters Charlie Stayt and Sally Nugent for being able to walk and talk whilst being on live TV. Again comments on social media proclaimed how confident Holly was.
The final live segment was handed over to Alanta Blunt, 13, who completed 4 minutes of live interviewing and presenting before handing back to the studio. Alanta commented “It was an incredible experience. I saw what it was like behind the scenes of a show millions of people watch each morning. I am so thankful I was selected for the opportunity”
As well as live presenting, the Catmose students had the opportunity to work alongside the production team, learning about the technology and equipment utilised in journalism and live transmission. They were taught how to manoeuvre the specialist cameras and tripods to gain insight into filming and they were provided with earpieces and audio headsets in order to learn about sound management and communicate with the studio presenters and production gallery. As well as shadowing the on-site producer, a student was also able to sit in the outside broadcast production van whilst the technical transmission was broadcast. Ryan Doyle, 13, said “I found the whole experience to be completely inspiring”.
Holly Perril said “It was a fantastic experience for us as budding reporters, encouraging us to learn about the various roles within a renowned journalistic crew such as BBC Breakfast. Through this unique experience, we learnt the value of communication and co-operation within journalism. We had a fantastic time experimenting with different equipment and practicing our presenting skills on camera. “
Stuart Williams, Executive Principal, commented “I am extremely proud of Alanta, Holly, Ryan and Owen who carried out their allocated roles on live TV with professionalism, showcasing the skills that they have been taught by our enthusiastic Media Team Coordinator and School Report project leader, Beth Smith. They are a credit to the College and to their families.
Year 8 student Benjamin Tylecote, 13, spent three days at the Big Bang Science Fair and won a runners-up prize for his project on cheap versus expensive seismometers that could help Third World countries detect earthquakes and seismic activities. Ben commented that “It was amazing being there and was incredible to be involved with so many brilliant science experiments”.