A Level Media Studies student Kubra Arslan, 17, recently secured a work placement at Channel 4 News with the support of City and Islington College’s Careers Service. Here she shares how the experience gave her a fascinating insight into working in a fast-paced national TV newsroom.
As students we are at a stage of our lives where we are making decisions about our future careers and life. Wanting to aim high or do what we love in our lives is the main goal for many of us. I’ve always been interested in working in the media, so I booked an appointment with one of CANDI’s career advisers, Elizabeth Frimpong, who had previously helped to find out more information about future careers, universities and apprenticeships.
After finding a few media-related work experiences, she was able to guide me in writing a covering letter that I would later send to the various places to show my interest in them. A few days later I received exciting news from Jordan Jarett-Bryan, a journalist for Channel 4 News at ITN Productions, asking me to call him to arrange an insight of the post-production of journalism and live news. I was quite nervous as I had never before made a call like this, but Elizabeth was on hand to give me tips. The call was a success and I secured an amazing one-day placement at Channel 4 News.
On the day I arrived I received a visitors slip so I could enter the building, which was very tall with many floors hosting different news companies including ITV News, Channel 4 News and 5 News. Jordan briefly pointed out which companies were on what floor and showed me where the actual production of live news takes place. The studio and the production control room are shared by all the news companies, which have their own scheduled time to use the rooms.
As we entered the Channel 4 News office, Jordan introduced me to some of the people that work there. I was thrilled to be able to talk to some of the team including the programme editor, news editor and graphics editor. Jordan also has his own production company and website called Blakademik, which celebrates and elevates black culture through its shows and online content.
Meeting the team had allowed me to understand the importance of each role and how without one role the news would not be able to function properly. One of the most important roles in the newsroom is the programme editor. Programme editors organise the news and create an in-depth schedule that shows the timings of each programme that are to run that day. It is crucial that programmes abide by the time given for them to run. They cannot run over their given time.
Other roles such as a news editor and digital content creator are equally as important. Without the news editor it is much more difficult to gather news and make sure that the programme editors have not missed any important content. A digital content creator can appeal to a younger audience, so they focus on targeting certain demographics. Due to technology developments, the younger audience are less interested in watching TV. In order to relay news to a younger audience, the digital content creator creates content on social media platforms that are widely used by the younger generation, such as TikTok. Creating and sharing content on an app which is used by certain demographics is a clever way to grasp the targeted audience’s attention.
Another role at the news editorial department that I discovered was the graphics editor. Before my placement, I never thought that they would work quite so close to the news editing team. Graphics editors create visual images to anchor with the text or message that is being relayed to the audience. These are as important as visual images as they help audiences to understand the news being shown to them and keeps them interested in the news.
Later, I saw how a reporter works with an editor to bring together a report about the leadership contest for the next UK prime minster. I also had the chance to take a closer look at Channel 4’s filming studio. Seeing the studio where some of the biggest news programmes are broadcast. Something that seemed quite big was simplified to a room with only four cameras.
The final and most exciting part of the day was when I was able to watch an actual live news programme run from beginning to end in the production control room where there was the director, programme editor, production assistant, graphics editor and a sound technician. During rehearsals, and even on air, the director would frequently communicate with the news anchor to ensure everything was going to plan. It was amazing to observe and just be present in the control room.
I really enjoyed meeting with different people at Channel 4 News and getting to know more about their roles, which gave me a much better insight on a typical day working in television news.