Page last updated at 17:26 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Radio News Day in Widnes

Prince Harry
Prince Harry used offensive language to describe a member of his platoon
Prince Harry's comments, shark attacks and the footballer of the year award were the lead radio news stories reported by students in Widnes.

Thirty-two pupils from Fairfield High School and 34 students from Saints Peter and Paul Catholic College visited Widnes City Learning Centre on 13 January to take part in a practice News Day.

Students listened to, and discussed, the differences between BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 bulletins before dividing into four groups to scan the daily newspapers; each group comprising of editors, audio producers, script writers/journalists, interviewers and presenters.

As an interviewer, Helena, 13, from Fairfield High, took the initiative to call the Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire to gather information about shark attacks, given the recent attacks in Australia.

A shark in the Sydney Aquarium shark tank
A shark in the Sydney Aquarium shark tank
She said: "They rang us back but unfortunately the person we needed to speak to was feeding the sharks and we didn't have time to speak to them again before the 2 o'clock deadline."

Interview tips

She advised other pupils to "get interviews set up as early as possible" and to "ask questions which people will be able to answer." She explained: "We started by asking questions which most people wouldn't know the answers to."

Helena's group also interviewed a teacher about a baby who was born two days after her mother died from a brain haemorrhage.

While the audio editors in her group listened to the interviews to extract the best quotations, Helena helped write a presenter's script.

"You have to take the information and put it in your own words so people your age will understand," she said, adding: "It was a rush to meet the deadline, but really beneficial, as now we will know how to deal with that on the proper report day."

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has been chosen FIFA World Footballer of the Year
Matt, 13, from Fairfield High was active on both sides of the microphone, answering questions on FIFA's decision to name Ronaldo as world player of the year, and then uploading his own interview to an editing software programme.

He said: "Even though I don't support Manchester United, Ronaldo deserved it. He stood out as a good player."

He added: "At first I didn't have a clue what to do, but then someone showed us how the equipment worked and I managed to fix the sound levels, so that the loud ones weren't going over the others. I enjoyed the day. It was interesting and I learned a lot."

Practice makes perfect

The role of senior editor Kieran, 13, was to "make sure people are trying their hardest to do their part and to fill in when needed".

At the end of the day he gathered his group together to give feedback on their performance. He told them: "I thought it was really good but that some parts could be improved such as people being more confident and not laughing nervously while recording. Also, next time I think it would would better if we were in smaller groups.

CLC manager Ray Weaver added: "The main thing that the students picked up on today was team work. The groups were very big and hard to handle. The editors each had 13 or 14 students to manage and at times it didn't always work out; which was as good a lesson as any. They started to figure out how all the cogs fitted into the machine and are now ready for the News Day in March."



SEE ALSO
Take part in a practice News Day
11 Dec 08 |  School Report
November's Practice News Day
14 Nov 08 |  Student reports
December's practice News Day
17 Dec 08 |  School Report

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