A day in the life of Derek Crookes goes something like this:
Wake up super early and grab your phone to start checking through social media for news stories that have cropped up while you were sleeping, such as Twitter, Facebook etc. Then you make your way into the office ready for a meeting at 8:10 with about 20 other journalists, to decide what news will be covered and also how to relay it to the C2DE demographic of 16-24 year olds in a clear and uncomplicated way in the small slot that Newsbeat has. In-house journalists are even provided with newspapers when they come in to verify the stories they’ve seen all morning on the web. They can’t cover every single news story that come up, and so they try to focus on the ones that they think are the most relevant to the demographic. You need to verify your stories with two notable sources once you come up with your news agenda, which is a group of stories that you will discuss in different ways throughout the day. Once this has been established the editor will send journalists out to cover the stories, this can all be done via a microphone and uploaded to an iPhone, ready to be relayed back to base. There is a “gate” everyday, which is a deadline in which you have to have your story ready or else it doesn’t get used, at Newsbeat this is normally about 12:30/12:45. Journalists are under alot of pressure to be as knowledgeable as they can be in a short amount of time about subjects they have to cover. After the stress of the work day you travel home while checking your social media for new stories. That is definitely the difference between a job and a career, a job you can go home and switch off from it but you never stop thinking about your career.
The programme is very scripted, as is all BBC news, the newsreaders and editors have the job of making the news sound like it’s not by using colloquial language and soundbites. It’s a very competitive industry, as is any creative industry I suppose, and the hours are long, normally 8am-6pm shifts but you often work outside of that when you are starting off. Derek Crookes studied at City University in Islington for 4 years and in his sandwich year he took a 1 year unpaid internship for Saturday Sports News, which launched him into the industry. In 1999 he started reading news at LBC on weekends doing shifts no one else wanted to do on his local radio station, then gradually he got promoted to weekday newsreader and then editor, when he decided what news went on air. He then went freelance and worked for Sky News before he finally got involved with Newsbeat,and now he is in charge of the website. It is very important to get all the key information in the first paragraphs, as people have a habit of reading for 30 seconds and then they continue scrolling. He said he has gained alot of connections in this business and that it is important for journalists to help each other out whenever they can.
All in all the visit was interesting, but not really very useful to me as I am not interested in journalism or how it works and what goes into producing the news.