This post is to be the first of a series, detailing my time at Sky News this summer after winning the Bob Friend Memorial Scholarship in February. If you’ve been lucky enough to escape my relentless spamming on the matter then you can check out what all the fuss is about on the Centre for Journalism website. Whilst I appreciate it probably isn’t that thrilling to read about things other people are doing whilst you’re sat at home staring at a computer screen, seeing as every other winner has found the time to chronicle their exploits, I’d hate to be the one to let the side down.
The last thing my friends said to me when I left for London yesterday was a somewhat hesitant whisper about how I’ll be working “for the man now” and I that I must not get corrupted and instead do some good “journalisming”. I laughed at them for a good thirty seconds, but I’ve got to be honest, I was pooing my pants and not just because scary people might scream in my face and force-teach me to hack phones. The last newsroom I was in was a small paper in the Kentish town of Deal; it comprised of two full time reporters and an editor in a room which may even be smaller than the TravelLodge I’m currently sat in. Whilst I have the upmost respect for the job they do, it’s also fair to say it’s almost like comparing an elephant to a mouse, with regards to Sky News. Oh and did I mention I come from Devon? I mean honestly, we’ve only just caught up with the idea of toilets on trains, let alone international multimedia news companies ( I really wish I could say I was joking there).
In respect of being one of the most gob-smacking places I’ve ever been to, Sky News definitely fits the bill. Even the outside is like a maze with massive building after massive building, each with their own gatehouse and security and even one with a giant windmill on top. And then you go inside. It’s hard to describe how truly incredible the place really is, and as my predecessor Dan May put it, it’s like an “assault on your eyes” from every possible direction. Everyone has two screens and a Freeview TV, making it damn near impossible to miss anything, and the control room has more lights and flashy things than Lapland at Christmas.
But what got me the most is the fact the entire thing is open plan; nowhere is off limits. As I gingerly walked in and attempted the water cooler, Eamonn Holmes causally strolled out. The set which they’re broadcasting live on right now is just a couple of metres away from me and there’s physically nothing to stop me running across the screen naked and shouting “HEY MUM” if I wanted too. Not that I’d do that, I’m far too enamoured with the idea of actually staying here and working.
I was also pleasantly surprised in terms of big nasty people who shout at you and bang there fists on tables; I’ve yet to observe a single raised voice in the entire building. Seems the man isn’t coming after me after all. And whilst I’ve yet to do any proper “journalisming”, as it was mostly a day of tours, health and safety and getting to grips with the software, I’m excited to learn that I’ll be on the planning desk tomorrow and I should be going out with reporters by the end of the week. That and the fact I’ve already been invited out to office drinks; it seems my alcoholism will serve me well here. If I didn’t feel like I could fall asleep on my feet, I’d be unable to contain my excitement. As it is I think I’d better get some shut eye for that 6.30am start…
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