I’ve always thought that reading the news was extremely easy – all you need to do is smile, be pretty, look smart and be able to read. Well, it turned out that it is harder than what I ever imagined – high levels of concentration, assertiveness, attention to detail and last but not least, confidence, all sit in the core of it. Last week I went on a trip to London, organised by the Worcester Business School for PR students. The plan for our day was to visit the Olympic Park first and then attend a tour at the BBC – this is where I had the chance to try to be a presenter!
Our day kicked off early, it was 7am when all of us, a group of 19 “bright & early” students gathered together at the Business School reception. Just a few hours later we were in London, ready for our first stop – the Olympic Park. After a short introduction to the Olympics’ history, our tour guide talked us through the way that the stadiums were built – for the first time I actually realised how green London 2012 was.
Also, I was impressed with the legacy of last year’s games, how some of these buildings are currently being changed so that they will bring profits – great capital investment for the future! It is great how these top-class facilities are now opened to sports clubs, universities and people, which will help discover the next big names in GB’s sport.
It was really interesting to find out some details on the sponsorship of London 2012 – it turned out that McDonalds had to pay £40 million to have their stand inside the park – I can only imagine what profit McDonalds made as a result of it – 12 million people attending the games… I am pretty sure that they weren’t just buying one 99p sandwich : )
It was time to head to our second stop – the BBC headquarter – that was an exciting experience! We met our great tour guides Richard and Tim who showed us how the BBC studios work. We couldn’t get inside the studios, but through a webcam system, we managed to see how one of their programmes was broadcasted in real-time. Just beneath us was one of their studios, as well as their newsroom – what a huge ‘sacred temple’, where all stories were generated! It is the largest live newsroom in Europe.The functionality and efficiency levels were over 100% – divided by regions, the newsroom was like a hive full of busy bees. It seemed to be a cool atmosphere to work at!
Then we went to their studio simulation suite, where Becky (a colleague of mine, who is also on my course) and I were presenting the news. Lights on, autocue on, we had the stories in front of us – 1,2,3 – show time! We could only see 3 words per line, but they were moving so fast that we missed a couple of words – it was quite entertaining for us and everyone around. The big surprise came up with the breaking news that we had no idea what they were about! I realised that the work of the tv presenter is not as easy as I thought it was – you have to speak in a clear, confident way, loud enough, normal pace, make sure you read carefully and quick.
Then we went outside where we learnt a bit more about the BBC building – the new and the old buildings are now merged into one. It was great to see the beautiful artwork outside, showing names of places from all around the globe.The BBC Broadcasting House was the first ever purpose-built broadcast centre in the UK, built in 1932 for the BBC, ten years after the corporation first came into existence in 1922.
In April 2013, the new part of the building was finished, opened by HM The Queen. Today, this 80,000 square metre structure provides state-of-the-art, digital broadcast facilities for staff in Television, News, Online and Radio (including the World Service).
Then we went into the old building, where we learnt more about BBC’s history – it’s founders, the first edition of Radio Times, the first dedicated programme for women, the first televised Olympic Games in 1948, the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the first episodes of Dr Who 50 years ago, the launch of Radio 1, the start of BBC Two as the first full colour TV service in Europe, the first ever Breakfast show, the launch of BBC News 24 Channel, as well as the launch of BBC’s website, coming to present shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, Sherlock and what is an essential part of our media consumption today – iPlayer.
Then we went to see BBC Radio Theatre and one of the studios where they record radio plays. Myself and a couple more student tried to do a radio play – 4 of us were actors and one of us was recording all the sounds – from someone climbing a hill, thunders, owls and many others. It turned out that whenever the actors need to recording themselves eating, they eat bananas, which produces a proper eating sound! It was supposed to be a horror play, but I believe we made it a comedy….
I have to admit that I enjoyed the BBC tour, as it showed us loads of sides of the media and the atmosphere around the place – not just the news room, but the studios, how it is organised, how its radio shows work, BBC’s history alongside with loads more – it was really, really interesting!