Week 5 live show evaluation

In the same manner as last week we started planning for the live shows on Monday with a meeting between all the VT teams. After a look at the news that day I found an article in the Evening Standard about a woman who eats with only £5 a week. She uses apps that offer discounted food from restaurants as well as food that is being given away for free from people in the local area. After discussing it with the rest of my VT team we agreed that this story would be interesting to pursue.

Our first task was deciding how we wanted to present the story to the audience. After much deliberation, we decided that there was little chance of an expert interview as the only person we could think of would be the woman in the article, so instead I would test the apps and be used as a case study. We decided to keep the same roles as last week- George as editor, myself as reporter and researcher, Barbra as camera operator, and James as VT editor.

Unlike last week not everyone was available to film straight away on the Monday, however George had booked out equipment for that day which I took to begin filming my trial of the app. My plan was to enlist the help of my flatmates to make sure the camera was correctly set up while they got shots of me browsing the app and potentially using it to get some food. This plan was unsuccessful. Unfortunately, none of my flatmates were available until late that night by which time the local offers had closed, and despite attempting to film alone I found it incredibly challenging to make sure the camera was in the right place and recording while also being in front of it. Instead I scripted and recorded our voice overs, as well as scripted the piece to camera and writing a brief outline of what needed to be recorded for the next day.

On Tuesday we spent the whole day recording. We successfully recorded 2 vox pops, my PTC, GV’s, and even managed to get some good footage of me successfully using the app to get food. We got all of our footage on that one day and handed the equipment over to James so he could edit it.

In terms of the success of our finished VT I think it was a great improvement on last week. Again, James did a very good job at editing our footage together to make an interesting package. Our sound was greatly improved from last week where it was incredibly distorted from the microphone being placed too close to my mouth when speaking. This week we used a lapel microphone for the PTC which made my speech clearer and not half as loud. For our vox pops I did still use a handheld microphone, however, after last week, I placed it further away from the interviewee so not to cause issues with the sound. I think we had a strong idea for our package, which was well executed, however I do think we should have explored more than one of the apps available for getting free food, and that we had discussed the negatives of the app in greater detail.

On Thursday, my role was on the day reporter again. While having our Thursday morning meeting a pre-arranged interview was mentioned as one of the stories that needed to be covered. It was about a discussion happening that night at LSBU about gentrification and regeneration in South London, and the interview was with one of the organisers, Dr Elena Marchevska. I was not immediately grasped by the story when it was mentioned as it wasn’t something I could see myself writing well- I personally feel my writing style is suited for lifestyle features and more light-hearted journalism. However, after the success of my article last week, Theo assigned me the piece.

I began by researching exactly what the discussion was going to be about as the brief was vague and used a lot of academic words I did not understand. My interview was at 11:30 which gave me an hour to research and generate some questions to ask. After researching I was still not 100% sure what the discussion was about and was feeling defeated as I wasn’t sure how I would be able to relate this article to students. I decided my best option was to out rightly ask as my first question what the discussion was about and what it’s aim was. I wrote several other open, yet generic, questions such as asking about why the discussion was important, how it would impact on the students at London South Bank, and how the panel was decided upon.

The interview itself went very well. Dr Elena Marchevska was a very open speaker and gave me lots of material to work with. Once she began talking about the event and what it was about it became easier for me to ask more specific questions about the event and it’s intended outcome. I voice recorded the whole interview using my phone so I could refer back to it for quotes whilst writing my article, and took Nick with me to take photos for the featured image. He managed to capture a couple of reasonably good shots of the interview that I eventually used in the article.

Despite feeling more optimistic about writing the article after my interview I still wasn’t entirely clear on the angle I wanted to write from, or even what to include. I decided the best option was to use the pyramid writing structure and include all the key information about the event at the beginning before going into more detail about the organisers and the outcome of the event in later paragraphs. I started strong with a quote and including who, what, where, when, and why. However, by 150 words I was running out of things to say and was running out of time to get my story uploaded to the JLDN website. I didn’t know how to finish the piece and needed to get it to at least 200 words before uploading. In a snap decision, I tried to relate the content to students and wrote some further details about future discussions on a similar topic to round it off. I uploaded the article to JLDN with a featured image, tags, and categories.  Although this piece was something outside of my comfort zone, and something I could have written better with more time for research and preparation, I enjoyed being pushed.

The actual live show on Thursday ran surprisingly smoothly. It seemed that after a successful morning meeting, where everyone confirmed they knew their roles, the whole show fell apart. People who were part of the production team were not always readily available in the newsroom when they were needed which meant the show couldn’t be set up properly, and certain people just seemed unfazed by the fact that the show was going live. Our show rehearsal was quite frankly a disaster. We never managed a full rehearsal with no interruptions as there were issues with the auto cue, the vision mixer, and again there were people absent.

Thankfully the actual live show was relatability smooth and a great improvement from last week. The presenters were a lot more relaxed and had a greater level of chemistry between them which seemed much more authentic, and all the VT packages were shown in full. I think the VT packages in themselves were also stronger this week as there were more interesting stories and the sound was a definite improvement.  I think the underlying problem of the show is people disappearing and missing the rehearsal. To fix this I think we need to devise a time for people to go on lunch breaks rather than letting everyone go whenever they want.

I am greatly looking forward to the next live show and to exploring a new role.