Posted by: benk1988 | December 12, 2009

WINOL WEEK 4

 

The final live bulletin of WINOL was clearly the best that we have done. We had two exclusives on the programme and both of them would not have looked out of place on South Today or in the Daily Echo. We really took a great leap in terms of the look of the programme, having used a backdrop for the first time and finally hitting the deadline of 5pm. All these points coupled with the fact that the studio was not recording audio until an hour before going live everyone rose to the occasion brilliantly well and pulled together as a really well working news room.

Monday’s news meeting brought forward what I originally thought was a fairly week line up of stories and I began to worry that the news content would again let us down. The poll that we had been running on the site was the lead story as, firstly it was an exclusive and secondly it was highly relevant to our target audience, little did we know how this story would turn out. The other stories were somewhat less relevant to our target so I was somewhat concerned.

I spent my time on Monday really ploughing into the promotional work as although out hits had gone up the previous week I really wanted to ensure that our last week was even better. Unfortunately the Student Union were unable to award us any BOP tickets for Date With Fate competition. This, I felt, was a bit of a failure on my part, although their reasoning was that they could not be seen to endorse an independent part of the University, I still felt that perhaps I could have tackled this issue earlier in the WINOL run. So I then focussed on ensuring that as many people as possible were aware of the last bulletin.

As the week went on it became clear that Maritn Tod the Liberal Democrat candidate for Winchester had contacted all his supporters in an effort to fluctuate the Liberal’s vote in our online poll. This was a real breakthrough for us and set us on the road to the best story I have been part of since doing this course. The fact that we caught a potential MP attempting to prejudice a student ran poll really pushed this story to the forfront of the news room activity. Stu who was reporting on this quickly contacted the Labour and Conservative candidates and ensured we had some brilliantly hard hitting questions which we could confront Tod with. The head of the University Politics Department was then lined up as a studio guest and this was quickly becoming a big news event. Further to this a fire broke out in the Stanmore housing estates. This would have been a story on its own, however we managed to get an exclusive interview with a student who had helped the resident of the property until the emergency services arrived. These two stories transformed our bulletin and suddenly gave us two exclusives that we could build the rest of the package around.

Due to the quality of the two packages it was decided on the Wednesday that I would approach the Daily Echo to see if they were interested in the stories in exchange for a quote and plug for our website. I was nervous about this as I had never really approached a paper like this before. It was even more difficult as I had to try and get the Editor, Andrew Nappier, to agree to give us coverage without telling him exactly what the story was. He was not very keen to talk to me and seemed to be slightly offended that we may have a story that his paper had not got. Having spoken to him I said I would discuss matters with my news editor and lecturers and get back to him. I was instructed to give little away and that if he didn’t want our exclusives then we should not sell ourselves short to give them to him. In the end he really didn’t seem happy a student was talking to him he therefore decided that he would watch our bulletin at five and if he was interested he would be in touch.

The BBC however were more interested and I have sent over all the relevant information and material to them for possible use on South Today. This was a really good experience for me and something I will be able to use later in my career.

In the debrief on Monday it was decided that in an attempt to ensure we got the bulletin uploaded at 5 we would move the recording forward to 3, this put more pressure on the team and exacerbated the audio problems in the studio. However everyone rose to the occasion brilliantly and the deadlines were all hit this week for the first time ever.

This week really felt the culmination of so much hard work and everything fell into place. I really pushed the promotional work including launching an award campaign for the student involved in the Stanmore fire. The circulation figures were up on last week and I am really pleased about this.

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