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Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Wednesday, 14 September 2011 13:26 UK

Newshounds meet jet-powered bloodhounds

School Reporters Kamran and Ashraf at the British Science Festival
School Reporters Kamran and Ashraf at the British Science Festival in Bradford

Young newshounds were hot on the trail of a Bloodhound Super Sonic Car at the British Science Festival in Bradford on Tuesday 13 September.

Students from Dixons Allerton Academy took the rocket car for a simulated test drive, experiencing what it might feel like to break the World Land Speed Record.

After a reporting masterclass with BBC Radio Leeds journalists, the School Reporters were ready to paint audio pictures.

by Kamran and Rebecca, Year 10, and Ashraf, Year 11
From Dixons Allerton Academy, Bradford

Seeing the Bloodhound was impressive, especially the length of it. It's not easy reporting on it for radio but you've just got to get your facts and figures right so that listeners can understand what you're describing. For example, it goes from 0 to 1,000 miles an hour in 42 seconds.

That's 1.4 times the speed of sound, which means if it's coming towards you, you can't hear it and you have to stay out of the way!

We had a test drive of the Bloodhound in the simulator. It was vibrating like we were really in the desert.

We started off with pressing the brakes and then we put all of our rocket power on to get the fastest land speed record!

We also spoke to the Education Programme Director, Dave Rowley.

Hands on

We had a go at recording sound effects in the "Hands On" exhibition space.

Rebecca decided to report on how to get a solar system into the classroom! She said: "I recorded a hairdryer blowing a pink ball in the air and someone saying: 'Three, two, one, blast off!'"

We interviewed a man teaching about gyroscopes and we learned about polar bears' brains, looking inside a skull into the brain cavity.

Reporting tips

We went through some tips on how to make a good report.

You must do your research or else you don't know what you're really talking about. Use open questions, because closed questions will just give you answers that are either "Yes" or "No". Listen to the the answers as that adds extra value.

It was challenging conducting interviews and to avoid confusion you need to prepare your questions and be confident.

The students interview the Festival's Education Programme Director, Dave Rowley
Pupils interviewed Bloodhound's Education Programme Director, Dave Rowley

Kamran, Year 10, who was involved in last year's School Report, compared science reporting with general news production.

He said: "Reporting science is much harder than normal reporting in the studio, especially at events like this. You have to do a lot more preparation before hand.

Ashraf, Year 11, reflected on the learning curve. "During the first interview, I was nervous and stuttering a little bit, but during the second, I felt a bit calmer," he said, adding: "I did my research properly and opened up my questions."

Rebecca, Year 10, felt the day's reporting had given her more confidence.

She said: "Producing an interview was the most difficult. Before, I felt really shy and now I feel like I've achieved something; I'm proud of myself. Now I can sign up to more things and believe that I can do it myself."

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22 Mar 11 |  School Report
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30 Mar 11 |  News Day 2011

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