How public-service strikes can be good news

News always used to have a negative touch. And so did the headlines today: Across the UK millions of workers went on strike to protest agains the proposed pension cuts. Newspapers described the event as the “biggest strike since 30 years” and more than three quarters of England’s schools were closed as well as museums, libraries, hospitals and police stations.

Anyway, even if our teachers supported the union strike and stayed at home today, the Journalism students at the University of Westminster turned up to prepare a 15-minute news bulletin – not only because we are well-behaved (at least most of the time) but simply because radio news days mean loads of fun.

And that’s why I want to show you now how to turn bad news into good news:

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Together we can do great things: The MAJI news project

During the last two days the journalism students at Westminster University experience a real news room feeling. Our mission: To produce two live news shows in two days. Sounds like a tough challenge, and it is!

Each day starts with a morning editorial meeting, where we discuss the news stories and arrange the tasks for the day. The atmosphere is like in a real news room. We choose chief editors, subeditors, floor managers and presenters.

While the chief editors Wendy and Patrick organize the schedule, the rest of the team goes out to shoot new stories, live reports and vox pops.

The deadline for the stories is 2.30pm. Until then we have to write the scripts, do voice overs and cut the material. The subeditors help us and check the scripts before we start editing.

At 3pm we are ready to prepare the show. Sara practises her script and I do the sound check with the production team.

4 o’clock: On Air! Our news anchor Sara is presenting the news stories of the day about the Euro-crisis, UCAS, the government’s crime mapping site and UK’s language program for immigrants. Weathergirl Wendy reads the weather forecast and Patrick informs about current sport news.

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