On the last day of March, NUTV sent two delegates, myself and News Executive Producer Karishma Joshi, to the 2017 National Student Television Association Conference, hosted this year by Guild TV, University of Birmingham’s student TV station.
After arriving for the welcoming proceedings, the afternoon was spent socialising with the delegates from other stations, meeting their executive and comparing notes on everything from station operations, SU management and even NUS politics (Northumbria had a fun time gloating at me about how they stayed in the NUS while we disaffiliated).
The real activities started the next day, with numerous workshops, talks and panels – we attended the two double-hour workshops provided by the BBC Academy, the educational arm that the BBC runs. The morning workshop was called Smartphone Storytelling and was led by Senior Trainer Deirde Mulcahy. After giving a brief reminder on the rule of thirds, Mulcahy moved onto the interactive practicals where attendees used their smartphone to conduct interviews. Whilst we were shown some tips in doing so (such as AE/AF locking, being mindful in lighting and using the microphone on the headphones), the more important message of the workshop, despite the name, was not about how to use an iPhone to film with, but to ensure that everything you make has a story. The use of framing a shot, positioning your subjects and especially focusing can all subtly change the story of your film.
After a buffet lunch, we went to the second BBC Academy workshop, NaSTA does Newsround, where the attendees were split into two production teams, with each member filling in as one of the many roles in an average news show. Karishma volunteered to act as the director in our group, ensuring all the presenters kept to a strict time, everyone knew the running order and that the crew of around 15 knew what they were doing. She directed a mocked-up live Newsround episode, while I used my background as a presenter on NSR in my own role as the continuity announcer, introducing the show.
As soon as the sessions had ended, it was a quick dash back to the hotel to get ready for the NaSTA Awards ceremony, held in University of Birmingham’s Great Hall. We got a chance to have a quick chat with TV journalism legend Fiona Bruce, but that would not be the last icon of the night.
Sharing a table with the lovely Torch TV from Hull, the entire hall was collectively thrilled to discover that the host of the evening was none other than Lizo Mzimba, who many of us grew up with watching on CBBC Newsround, and is an alumnus of the university. Mzimba led the awards with his engaging and entertaining style, leading up to the moment of the night when Fiona presented the Best On-Screen Female Award, prefaced by her pointing out that nearly all of the speeches given by stations receiving an award when both a male and female representative came onto the stage were given by the male delegate, before encouraging all the women in the room to get their voices heard, and not be silenced by men ‘who haven’t even started their career yet’, a sentiment that received standing applause.
Sadly NUTV did not receive an award this year, though both The Courier Fashion Halloween Special (our collaborative project between the fashion section of this paper and ourselves) and Saffron Kershaw-Mee were shortlisted in their respective categories, representing the top five nominations. The night was capped off nicely by the opportunity to meet Lizo Mzimba, who came down to have quick chats with the stations after the ceremony
The glamour of the conference over, the final order of business was the NaSTA AGM, before heading off home. The conference was an overall pleasure to attend, complimented with the chance to meet with our counterparts from other stations and the privilege of being given industry-level training sessions and networking opportunities with media figureheads. If you want to have a chance to work with NUTV next year, be it on an existing show or your own new idea, and possibly even to attend the 2018 conference in Sheffield, make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@NewcastleUniTV) and watch out for announcements!