For part of my month of work experience I was lucky enough to get to go down to London and spend a fortnight on ITV’s Tonight programme.
It was a great experience. I went expecting to just be the tea boy but I ended up being a proper part of the team, even getting the chance to briefly appear on TV myself - in unusual circumstances.
Tonight – now minus Sir Trevor McDonald – does weekly half hour current affairs shows, looking at subjects on everything from the snowy weather to the recent disaster in Haiti.
I had my name put forward by my tutor to get a foot in the door, but I smoothed the final few creases before booking my trip to the capital.
The office was based in central London, in the same building as ITN and Channel 4 News, so there’s the real hustle and bustle of the media as soon as you enter.
Because of the recent problems ITV has been having – thanks to the recession and decline in advertising revenue – it meant the team is now pretty small, so there ended up being plenty for me to do.
It all started out pretty slow, transcribing interviews and time-coding video tapes, but soon I was organising locations, researching potential interviews and going out on shoots.
Towards the end of my first week I was then asked to do something which you don’t associate with a normal nine to five; I was asked to break into my producer’s flat for the intro to an upcoming show.
Now I may have got the job because I was the one in the office who looked most likely to rob a house, but you overlook a backhanded insult like that when given your 15 seconds of fame.
The afternoon was great fun; I was given an almost free rein to ransack his front room, smashing the window to break in, up turning chairs, and throwing his TV to the floor – I took full advantage of the situation.
It did have a point though. It was used to highlight how personally targeted people can feel when people experience things such as burglary, and it ended up looking pretty good.
Another moment I was really proud of, as it took quite a bit of work, was organising one of the central interviews for a quickly turned around documentary, being produced in only two weeks.
The documentary, about protecting your home, needed another big interview and, having trawled through hundreds of articles found a little report incident of a man with no legs fighting off three masked intruders from his family home with a shotgun.
He was great and, as well as being near-perfect for what we needed, it was the first interview he had ever done – a definite coup I felt.
But the fortnight as a whole exceeded my expectations by a mile, and it shows that you can end up doing almost anything once you take those steps into the wider world of work.
By Daniel Masters, Chief Reporter
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