10 April 2006

London field trips prove a success

Students outside the BBC's Television Centre

Journalism students at Sheffield University were given a sneak preview into the redesigned BBC news website during a visit to Television Centre in west London.

The new design, to be introduced later this year, features several innovative features including an option for users to personalise the homepage with local news and weather.

There will also be more prominent promotion of the BBC’s video and audio content and a ‘most recommended’ section highlighting stories that are creating a lot of interest among users of the site.

Students outside the Palace of Westminster

Pete Clifton, Head of BBC News Interactive, also told the students that the BBC was also looking to increase the use of BBC content by way of mobile phones and large screens giving news headlines in public spaces such as railway stations and shopping centres.

Vicky Taylor, the BBC’s Editor of Interactivity, also outlined the corporation’s plan to make more use of UGC – User Generated Content – which has proved an increasingly important part of the BBC’s output, particularly since the 7/7 London bombings.

The newsroom at the Sunday Times

The trip to the BBC’s online newsroom in White City was part of a three-day field trip to London organised for all MA journalism students.

Watching the presses roll at Wapping

This year a total of 52 students took part in the events attending a wide variety of journalistic organisations and visiting the Houses of Parliament.

Broadcast and Political Communications MA Students visited Sky News and the BBC World Service, while Print and Web MA students were treated to a discussion with Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger on the future of newspapers, and visited Wapping to see the presses role at News International.

Former minister David Blunkett talks to the students

Both groups spent a day at the Palace of Westminster, enjoying Prime Minister’s Question Time in the Commons and a tour of the Palace.

The Guardian's sketch writer Simon Hoggart talks to the students

Later they had the opportunity to grill the Guardian’s celebrated sketch writer Simon Hoggart, ex-minister David Blunkett and rising Liberal Democrats star Nick Clegg.

A studio at the BBC's Millbank building

There was also the opportunity to tour the BBC's Millbank studios close to Westminster, where much of the BBC's political output is created.

The trips give the students an insight into the workings of some of the biggest newsrooms in the UK and have become an established and enjoyable part of the MA courses.