TVFutures:Student pitch


Alex Watson TV-Bay Magazine
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by Alex Watson
Issue 107 - November 2015

Studying at university is so much more these days than just turn up to lectures, hand in assignments and get a degree, and at the end of my first year studying for a BSc in Television and Broadcasting at the University of Portsmouth, I had the opportunity to attain my Avid Media Composer User Certification.

At the time I thought it would be beneficial to understand this widely used software, but I never imagined it would become so useful so quickly. Later that summer I was able to use my new-found editing skills on a work experience placement at ITV. This wasnt the only work experience I had done over the summer as I also took part in Work Experience at one of the worlds biggest broadcasters the BBC.

My work experience placement at the BBC took place the week after I had completed my Avid Media Composer User Certification, so it was a very busy time for me! I was based in the corporations St. Helier studios, which is home to BBC Radio Jersey and BBC Channel Islands News. I hadnt expected to be able to work there during the summer, I had filled in an application earlier in the year and had totally forgotten about it.

It gave me such a great insight into the newsgathering process across both Radio and TV. Before my first day there, despite having spent time working in industry previously, I had never directly been required to do any journalist-type jobs, so it was a bit of a steep learning curve, but a thoroughly enjoyable one!

The week was pretty much non-stop, with my time spent gathering stories (both in the newsroom and out and about), and writing scripts for presenters to read out on air. A few days into my placement, and during the meeting I suggested a local angle for the on-going homework debate that was all over the national press.

A local school had carried out its own research study into the effectiveness of homework, and I had previously used Avid Media Composer and Adobe After Effects to edit the findings into a video. The BBC news editors liked the idea and the following morning we were doing a live outside broadcast on the radio, and later that same day, the story I had developed had been picked up by the local newspaper I could be annoyed at my exclusive being pinched, but from a non-journalistic point-of-view, it did mean more views for my video!

It was nice to have such a mixture of hands-on practical experience, whilst also being able to do some traditional work shadowing too. Even though I had managed to extend my work experience placement beyond the original five days thanks to the live sporting event that was the 2015 NatWest Island Games, it was still a sad day when I left.
After several weeks away from broadcasting, working in a proper office job to raise some money to pay for my student lifestyle for the coming year, in August I returned to the first television station I had ever done work experience with ITV Channel Television. This is the local region for Jersey and the rest of the Channel Islands. As I had been at ITV on and off since I was just 17 years old, I knew the team well and they allowed me to put some of the skills Id learned during my first year on the BSc Television and Broadcasting course to good use, this included being allowed to edit several packages for broadcast, including the local weather.

ITVs newsrooms use Avids Newsroom Management system called iNews® which allows running orders, scripts and video packages to be centralised. Videos are edited using a version of Avids Media Composer software called Newscutter which is very similar, but with a few tweaks to integrate into the iNews system. pending that time studying for my Avid User Certification had really helped me understand the software at a very comprehensive level, despite having only less than a years experience using Avid.

Personally, I think spending my summer break on work experience was definitely the best thing I couldve done in the long run. As well as getting to learn more about the industry, it was an opportunity to make some great connections, try new things like presenting and keep my broadcasting-related skills up to scratch during the long university break. Its strange to think that what most people assume would be the quiet time for a student has been so busy!

Tags: iss107 | university of portsmouth | avid media composer | bbc | itv | work experience | placement | student | Alex Watson
Contributing Author Alex Watson

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