MY FIRST REAL EXPERIENCE OF JOURNALISM
I've been asked by a friend to talk about how the #Brexit was covered here in the UK by the media. As I am more interested in broadcast journalism, I am unqualified to talk about how the press covered it (badly by all accounts). However, here is my experience from Friday the 24th June 2016, the day we voted to leave the EU and how it was covered by broadcast journalism.
Like everyone else I sat up all night on Thursday night/Friday morning, watching from 10pm, as ITV News's former political editor Tom Bradby put his other talent into play - presenting - to pull an all nighter to tell us results of the EU referendum as they came in. He finally went off the air around 5am having declared the result was a Brexit as the remaining results wouldn't change this outcome, so there was no point going on about it. I stayed until the bitter end. I was shocked at the result, and never believed it could happen. I should not have stayed up as I was travelling that day but it was irresistible. The whole night, guest politicians, pundits, analysts, economists, came in and out of the studio giving their take on this whole thing. Alastair Stewart who is just as amazing, came on at 9am but this was sadly where I had to discipline myself and get ready to travel. One thing I had learned was that the broadcast media where piling into Westminster Gardens, so I headed to London, dumped my stuff and went to join them, no settling in, no shower, nothing. Just straight into my room, dump my stuff, grab my camera/camcorder and out again. Which is probably why I look a bit untidy on my vlog.
First I had to find where the media where. It took all of five minutes. There, right opposite Parliament in the garden of Parliament Square were a load of broadcast tents, for both TV and radio. Everyone was allowed on there as long as they didn't interfere with the media, they could sit and watch, even picnic, as long they liked. To stand on the lawn with some of the most amazing broadcasters and people I've admired for years was pretty awesome I have to say. It was a privilege. But like those wonderful people I had a job to do. So I tried to forget who was around me and got on with it.
We all did basically the same thing. Stood on something that made us slightly taller, so we could have the Westminster clock in the background: me on the wall, the professionals on one or even two equipment boxes. A TV in front so you could take cues from London or New York studios, and lights. Very bright lights. That's why my vlog has a green line down it, my camera reflected them.
|Keir Simmons and his handy equipment box.|
Some broadcasters actually interviewed politicians right there on the lawn, but not while I was there, and lots of them filmed the protesters who, thankfully, were happy to stay the other side of the fence. Until later in the week that is, when it became completely insane and even a little dangerous.
Some broadcasters had their broadcast tents on the ground as a marquee-type set up while others had their makeshift studio on a scaffolding balcony:
|ITN on the balcony|
Some of the other professionals and yours truly, thought "sod that" and just found whatever space we could on the grass. The atmosphere was wonderful. It was so good that even my husband Don was getting into the spirit of it, even though he doesn't enjoy journalism the same way I do.
The one thing that is important to note is that journalists have loads of kit! It's absolutely everywhere! Camera, track, scaffolding, tripods, lights, kit boxes, you name it. Oh, and the one other essential piece of kit. The umbrella, though this is used more in regard to lighting than because of the weather:
|The trusty filming umbrella|
There were people coming and going the whole time: journalists, pundits, politicians, cameramen, protesters, onlookers. It was like everyone had come out to Westminster to share the amazing and weird event of Britain telling the EU, "Sorry, I've decided I don't want to be your friend anymore. Goodbye and good riddance".
So basically covering a story from a particular location (with the exception of war zone obviously) tends to involve sitting around waiting a lot especially if you are on the technical side. And basically a kind of impromptu camp-out. But it is a lot of fun, and very, very exciting. And I hope one day to be among the professionals doing this. Can't wait.
NBC's Bill Neely reports on Brexit: