Friday, February 24, 2012

Passing the screen test

I've just spent a few pleasant hours at Winchester University watching their journalism students put together their weekly broadcast.

Part of it was spent in a studio listening to producers guide anchors toward their best shot and cue up videos on hyper-local stuff from education reforms to a historic palace being rebuilt with Lego.

I also had a look at their website, all hand-built in the bedroom geek's tool that is Joomla, but crammed with everything you'd want from a local paper site. Memo to Hampshire Gazette: there’s a deal to be done, chaps.

The team was an interesting mix of 2nd year undergrads and MA students, devised to accommodate academic workloads but also one which had the advantage of mixing youth with experience.

They made all the usual mistakes of not getting the most out of their visuals but took great strides in initiative by getting bang on top of the news. Using Twitter to grab an instant interview with the local football club’s new boss was one.

You can see the results here and what I thought of it here.

What you won't see is journalism head Chris Horrie introducing someone who lays claim to being something of a digital early adopter as "a good old fashioned inkie".

A week earlier, I gave one of my twice-yearly talks to the young and aspirational on the Inspiring Futures scheme at Roehampton University and organiser Simon Clarke cited my "decades of experience across a range of media".

Decades? Little wonder then that on Tuesday, to the amazement of colleagues, I actually forgot it was my birthday until a one of them handed me a card.

It even came with a small present and the leading question: "Do you know what day it is?"

Let me guess? A good day to bury bad news?