Alex’s Blog

Welcome to my blog! With so many great experiences from the BSc (Hons) Television & Broadcasting course and beyond, I wanted to use this blog to look back on several key events that took place over the last three years; from producing our final radio show with my team of students, to pulling all-nighters reporting from one of the General Election counts in 2015 and 2017!

A lot of the posts on the blog will centre around the work put in by Television & Broadcasting students to produce our own television and radio programmes every few weeks. These are produced live from the University of Portsmouth’s Eldon Building – home to the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries – and broadcast live on the Big Screen Portsmouth in Guildhall Square as well as on our own online channel, CCI TV (named after our faculty!).

‘Time at the Bar’ Documentary

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The Television and Broadcasting course has been designed to allow us as students to develop a broad range of skills. In addition to producing our live broadcasts throughout the year, we have been creating our own short documentary film. We decided to base ours on a local pub, The Fawcett Inn, which has continued to thrive in an age where as many as 30 UK pubs a week are having to call ‘Time at the Bar’ (roll titles!). (more…)

On Air: My First Radio Showreel

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Now that my time at university is nearly over, I thought it would be a good time to try and put together a short demo or showreel of some of my work in broadcast journalism. (Well, it was that or have an existential crisis and panic about having to go out into the real world and get a proper job! So this is probably the better option to go with.)

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Celebrating our Unsung Heroes

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For our final regular broadcast of the year, we produced a 30 minute-long radio show on Portsmouth’s local radio station, 93.7 Express FM. You can catch up with the show here:

Way back at the end of last year, we were required to pitch for a topic from a list of options devised by our lecturer, Katie. The ‘Unsung Heroes’ theme was our first choice, as well as that of one of the other groups. Our pitch was successful as I wanted us to take the very broad ‘unsung heroes’ theme and narrow it down to one specific area, which we could deliver a concise but entertaining and informative programme. I was aware of the danger that with the broad ‘unsung heroes’ theme, we could have so many avenues to explore for this show. However as producer, I thought that blood and organ donation would give us a good topic for a radio show while also remaining in keeping with the ‘unsung heroes’ theme. (more…)

What does a Director do?

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One of the roles I’ve undertaken this year was that of a television director. They are responsible for the look and sound of a production and its technical standards. Directors realising the producer and scriptwriters’ ideas into finished programmes.

For most of the shows we broadcast on CCI TV, there are two directors for each programme. One based on the main studio, located downstairs in the Eldon Broadcast Hub; and one located upstairs in the green screen studio, which doubles as our Master Control area for the transmissions.

In our last show, the inclusion of an additional ‘courtyard studio’ meant we needed an additional director to cut between cameras on location. I liaised between the two directors ‘on the ground’ from in the gallery of the green screen studio, so I could keep an eye on the full programme as it was being transmitted.  (more…)

‘Student Goes From BBC Work Experience to Freelance Reporter Whilst Still At Uni’

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Rachael from the University of Portsmouth’s Creative Careers Centre has written a blog post about the experience I’ve had at the BBC. Take a look over at their blog, ‘We Love Creative Careers’. (more…)

At One With Nature

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After the end of our ‘Sustainability’ programme before Christmas, we were told that for our third and final television programme for the TVBRO unit, we would be able to pitch and choose our own programme idea. After some discussions, we decided to continue with our ambitious programme ideas and produce a half-hour Nature programme.

For the programme, my main role was as the studio director in the CCI Studio, this is our upstairs chroma key studio which is often used for shorter, informative sections during the programmes produced by Television and Broadcasting students. However, given the theme of the programme, I was never intending to use the green screen studio for this programme. Instead, I was hoping we’d be able to use the Eldon Building’s courtyard for our second studio. (more…)

Promoting Sustainability

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After our first programme on the Emergency Services finished, we found out the topic of our next programme would be ‘Sustainability’. With the University of Portsmouth priding itself on how sustainable and eco-friendly it is, from new buildings to recycling schemes, I thought we’d have plenty of potential directions to go in.

For the show, I was the camera operator and editor for some of the packages, as well as operating the jib camera during our live show. (more…)

What’s The Emergency?

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Over the last few weeks, Television and Broadcasting Team Red have been working towards producing a programme on the emergency services. Our brief was to create a programme which focused on the city of Portsmouth; which we’ve all previously made a few programmes on during our time on the course, so this time we wanted it to be something a bit different.

For this programme, I wanted to make the most of my last year in university by getting some practice in with the practical and craft skills which would be useful after I graduate, so I wanted to be the Editor and Camera Operator. I got some practice using the Sony EX1/EX3 cameras which I’d last used for the Meridian general election all-nighter back in 2015, as well as the Sony FS7 cameras which are used in the Eldon building’s pop-up TV studio, known as ‘the hub’, or you can call it the ‘Eldon Broadcast Hub’ if you really want to! (more…)

Fred Dinenage Interview

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Regional television news has always been an area that interested me, so when I had the chance to do a final year project for my university course on a topic of my choice, I had a great opportunity. I’ll write some more about my project later; but for part of it, I wanted to do some interviews with people who have spent years working in regional news. One of these interviews was with ITV’s longest-serving presenter, Fred Dinenage MBE. (more…)

My last year at university!

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Wow! The last two years really seem to have flown by! As I begin this final year on the BSc Television and Broadcasting course, I thought this would be a good time to provide some context for what will no doubt be the subject of many future blog posts: the Television Broadcasting unit, or TVBRO for short.

So other than having the coolest-sounding name ever, what is TVBRO? It’s the part of my course where we produce our own half-hour programmes every few weeks. The third year Television and Broadcasting students were split into three groups – Teams Red, Blue and Yellow – which work together to produce the broadcasts. Each team has around 15 students in it. (more…)

Let Battle Commence! Inside the BBC’s Battle of Flowers coverage

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The various programmes we’ve created at university had given me some experience working as a camera operator, but this summer I had the chance to put what I’d learned over the last two years into practice.

Back home in the sunny island of Jersey, in what newsrooms would usually call the ‘silly season’, an event takes place every year which epitomises the uniqueness and community spirit of life in the Channel Islands. The Jersey Battle of Flowers is the island’s annual carnival where on the second thursday of August, floats created by locals descend on St Helier’s Victoria Avenue for the spectacle of islanders and tourists alike. The 2016 event saw over 15,000 spectators attend the parade, so after over 100 years there’s no sign of ‘Battle Fever’ losing it’s popularity. (more…)

BBC Work Experience Blog

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My BBC Work Experience placement gave me such a great insight into the newsgathering process across both Radio and TV – up until my first day at the BBC, my prior experience had mainly been focusing on the production side of broadcasting. The initial placement was set out so I was able to spend time in both the newsroom, and the studios, getting involved with all aspects of the BBC’s work in Jersey. (more…)

Reporting on the 2015 General Election

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Camera kit… check! Notepad and pen… check!

Add a press pass, crib sheets for the candidates and some emergency sugar-filled rations to get you through the night, and you’ve got possibly everything you’d need to report on one of the 2015 General Election counts.

Okay there’s a bit more to it than that. The night of the 7th of May (and most of the following day, to be honest) was definitely one of the longest working days I’ve had to do, but it was also such a great experience to give me a fantastic insight into UK politics. (more…)