Central TV turned to students at Coventry to cover the 2015 general election – one of the biggest stories of the year.
They fed breaking news back to the newsroom from six of the counts, and filmed the declarations for Central’s website.
And when a police car was torched outside one count, our students covered the story, even delivering a live report for a radio station in Scotland.
They also joined more than 100 students from 14 universities accredited by the Broadcast Journalism Training Council, reporting for student election programmes around the country.
The coverage has since won Coventry’s Teaching Excellence Award for the best project in the university to promote employability – an important focus for the Media department.
Students from Coventry’s Journalism and Media Production courses reported from Coventry, Hinckley, Rugby and Nuneaton – a key marginal that was seen as an early indicator for the surprise outcome of the election.
Vincenzo Ferrara, also a Journalism student, was at Nuneaton as part of the BBC team, alongside Radio 4 presenter Winifred Robinson.
Journalism course leader Rachel Matthews, who ran the project, said: “This demanded exceptional commitment and professionalism. They operated in a testing environment at night under Central’s news editor, covering any news which arose.
“At Hinckley a police car was firebombed. Our reporters covered it – and then went back to waiting for the election result. They also Tweeted and documented it.
“They worked alongside the media professionals they aspire to be, including journalists for national media such as Radio 4 and the BBC.
“Their presence on Twitter was exceptional.”
The students involved were Sharifah Mian, Peggy Kapinga, Halim Azad, Kyle Knappett, Nico Mirhashem, Nour Abida, Monta Dambrova, Ting Ting Zhang, Bahar Hussain, Jessica Allen and Rhiannon Everton.
Bahar Hussain said: “We were keeping Central TV updated online and I was contacted by three radio stations about the Nuneaton election count. I even had the chance to interview the winning candidate from the Conservative party. It was a great experience.”
Nour Abida said: “It was really hectic, but at the same time really exciting to get to meet the local political figures. You’re in the field so you can see how it’s really happening, you can use everything you’ve learned and put it into practice. It was a golden opportunity for me, especially to cover it for Central TV and ITV, and I was called by student radio stations so I also had the opportunity to report live.”
Sharifah Mian said: “This was my first experience of being a journalist. One minute I was covering the counts for the general election, and the next I was filming an exploded police car outside. It gives a great insight as to how fast the news world moves. It was also funny how intriguing yet unbelievably dull it was to watch the poll cards being counted – FOR EIGHT HOURS!! I really enjoyed the experience nonetheless.”
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