Posts Tagged ‘CEEFAX’

To look at journalism in a professional environment, or at least the environment that the BBC works in we went with Marcos to visit his workplace at BBC Oxford. The building itself is probably one of the smaller BBC’s but it had plenty there.

The top floor was where all the ‘real’ work took place. The behind the scenes staff who make the radio productions sound easy and the online product look professional. People were editing programme trails, writing online content and taking and making calls for future news stories. This office also introduced me to one of the major perils of working for the BBC. The cakes. The doughnuts. They were everywhere. Future media contributors beware, you may get fat.

Marcos convinced some of the staff to spend a few moments talking to us, and they were all very kind to do so. One gentleman Andy Gordon gave us a brief outline of online content writing.

  • The first four paragraphs must tell the whole story
  1. This is originally because when stories were uploaded on to CEEFAX you would only be able to read four paragraphs.
  2. It is now useful for mobile internet users as you can usually only see about four paragraphs on the average mobile phone screen.
  3. Even since we’ve moved on from CEEFAX the standard has been set and it works well for news stories across the board.
  • Write 2 Headlines
  1. One headline for the homepage to link you to the main story, and another on the story itself.
  2. It adds more to the story and expands the search engine possibilities.
  • BBC Paragraphs are sentences.
  • Additional Videos and pictures can be added
  1. This helps tell the story
  2. The video clip won’t be taken from the television report, it will often have a more precise report covering just the bullet points of the relevant story.
  3. You will generally never see the presenter, just video footage and a voice-over.

We moved into the main newsroom where the gathering of sources happens, the creation of news stories and some editing takes place. Here we met one of the on-air personalities Phil Mercer who is in fact taking a short break from his morning show currently and one of my colleagues actually became a source for a story he was putting together on bed-bugs for tomorrow.

Following this we went to where the action happens. The radio studios are divided into four different rooms with three surrounding a central booth creating a fishbowl effect. Each room could see one another however through glass panes. We also had the opportunity to see inside the BBC Oxford News studio. MUCH smaller than it looks on screen the cameramen (or lack of) do a great job at making that room look bigger. The cameras are remote controlled from the gallery which was very impressive. It had the makings of a NASA control room only downsized-ever so-slightly.

After a spot of lunch Marcos very kindly took us on a brief tour of Oxford which is nice but definitely not matching up to Cambridge in it’s brashness. There were some beautiful canals, once-illustrious castles, post-graduate colleges, and some nice snippets of history by our wonderful tour guide.

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