Page last updated at 19:06 GMT, Friday, 19 September 2008 20:06 UK

School Reporters go mobile

By Lucie Mclean
Product manager, mobiles, BBC News website

Students at a London school used mobile phones as news-gathering devices on School Report News Day.

Mobile phone screen
Making news on the move using mobile phones
Over 100 schools across the UK used a variety of equipment to make TV, radio and online news during the finale of the annual BBC News project in March 2007.

Pupils at including Lilian Baylis Technology School in Lambeth recorded interviews and scripts on their phones and used Bluetooth to send their material to laptops to be edited.

Mobile phones were not only used in the news-making process, they were also the subject of several news reports.

Students investigated how mobile phones are used by professional journalists, how they are used as a platform on which to receive the latest news and how young people use Bluetooth.

Pupils and their teachers recognised that mobile phones - a technology with which young people are familiar - help engage young people with the news.

Journalism

Teacher Abi Kendall said the pupils saw mobile phones as a link to journalism and a way to get involved.

Peter Horrocks, L, with School Reporters
Head of BBC News Peter Horrocks joins the School Report team
Peter Horrocks, the head of television news at the BBC, joined the class for the morning to help them prepare their stories.

Shanice said: "He was really helpful. He helped me figure out what to write in my script."

Wide-ranging news

Other stories covered by the class were wide ranging, from world news and sport to local events and good news stories.

Pupils decided which topics to cover and Abi Kendall said she was impressed with their choices.

She said: "We gave them quite a lot of responsibility and said it was all up to them. They chose newsworthy topics rather than some of the quirkier stories."

Emulating journalists in a real newsroom, students monitored the BBC News 24 channel for breaking news stories, adding new items to their running orders as they happened.

Credit

Time was tight and there was a frantic rush to meet the early afternoon deadline.

"Journalists should be given more credit for what they do," said 13-year-old Richlove, "It's really hard finding out information and writing stories."

Pupils and their teachers said they had learned a lot from their School Report experiences.

"I learned team skills and how to be patient," explained 13-year-old Shaira.

Diagram with workings out
Working out what to put in the news

"I think I've learned an appreciation of the news," added Abi Kendall, "Understanding just how many stories there are to cover in one day and how much it takes to co-ordinate all of it."

Lambeth City Learning Centre (LCLC) assisted students with their recording and editing by providing technical equipment and staff.

Manager Sarah Horrocks said she believed the involvement of a wide range of staff from LCLC and the BBC added to the experience.

"I think the children have been very excited about the work they've done," she said. "They've found it very stimulating to work with the professionals - the technicians, film-makers, sound recordists and journalists - and have had a professional experience within their school."


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