My Blast Diary
By Frankie Ward
Follow Frankie from week to week during her summer as BBC Kent's Blast reporter.
It's my final week!
On Monday I decide to head off to my old secondary school MGGS. I wanted to write a story that was personal to me as my last feature on my Blast page. I was Vikings House Leader in 2006 and lead my house to victory in the competition so it's something quite close to me!
Going back to school also gave me a chance to see many of my old teachers and to say thanks for helping me achieve my nice sounding A Level results.
I record my final webtrail voiceover with Phil Harrison, the BBC Radio Kent Promotions Producer, which features a story about big cats running riot in Kent!
I also have to say thanks to Karina Barker who has been my partner in crime when sneaking backstage at festivals, Jo Pattison from BBC Kent Online who has always answered my endless questions and Hamish, my mentor for THAT cup of hot chocolate (and obviously putting up/publishing/guiding me!)
Tyson Sheppard of Tehillah Commission with Frankie
This week I move my 'Blast days' back a bit so that I can attend an NUS and Amnesty International media conference in London. I was thrilled to be asked to represent my university and leave feeling a lot more impassioned about journalism.
On Tuesday I meet Mr Brownlow (aka Tony Bates,) at Dickens World in Chatham. He shows me around the attraction and I get to meet some of the many young actors who perform there. I wonder how they manage to stay in character for so long!
Dickens World was used as the set for the latest Hoosiers video, Cop and Robbers and the title sequence for 'I'd Do Anything' so I was rather excited to get to spot the locations! I also got to hop on the boat ride. queue free!
I'm off to Bestival over the weekend so I'm going to try and seek out Kent based bands to interview. I'm also planning a trip to my old school, Maidstone Girls Grammar, to report on their annual House Arts competition.
Frankie's borrowed wellies
I devote my Bank Holiday Monday to investigating Tunbridge Wells' music festival Local and Live which would have been rather lovely had it not been for the grey weather!
Luckily I am well looked after by the Local and Live team and former interviewees Tehillah Commission. I also feel like a proper photographer with my dad's SLR camera.
At the office on Tuesday my mentor Hamish offers to make me a cup of hot chocolate but makes me a cup of delicious hot sludge by accident. (He filled up three quarters of the cup with power instead of three quarters of the formula scoop.)
I only have two weeks left...will that be enough time to teach Hamish the correct way to make instant hot drinks?
This week I head of to the divine Salutation Gardens in Sandwich, Kent. The gardens are beautiful and head gardener Steve is a brilliant guide. It smells fabulous too! The sculptures vary between quaint and 'far out.'
Frankie at Underage Festival with Gallows
At the Salutation mansion I am lent leopard print wellies to wander round the dew soaked garden and get some amused looks from other visitors. Clearly I rock them to my best potential!
Living in Mid-Kent I don't get to visit the coast very often and Blast has given me the perfect excuse! Sandwich is amazing. On my way back to the station I discover a treasure trove disguised as a charity shop and find some nearly new jeans for a pound! (It was my lunch hour, honest!)
Being involved in Blast has also made others sit up and take note. I have been assigned to interview Radio One DJ and entrepreneur Rob Da Bank for 4Talent and have also presented a show for Myspace radio with Alex Zane. Clearly the BBC is a vital part of my blossoming CV.
On Sunday I head off to the seaside haven that is Broadstairs to take photos of artists and dancers at Broadstairs Folk Week. I also learn the importance of comfortable footwear after walking around for ages causes me severe pain!
Frankie with Rachel Tandy from BBC Blast Oxford
I write my article on the Christian rock group Tehillah Commission and edit the interview. Later I realise that I've cut most of the breathing out so it sounds as if we have gills! Hamish, my mentor advises me to keep a stock of 'um's from future interviews to insert at necessary moments!
I also open my potentially controversial debate on Morris dancing as a dying tradition. Phil Harrison, a producer at BBC Radio Kent gets me to record this weeks web trail. I'm nervous as it mentions the piece which means that people may start to 'have their say' in the box on the page.
At the start of the week I am given the challenge of hitting the streets and asking random people what they think about Abba's greatest hits album Gold, which is currently at the top of the UK album chart.
I'm not sure if I scared people off with my entirely blue outfit or simply that people were too embarrassed to admit that they liked ABBA, but no one seemed to want to talk to me!
On Tuesday morning I returned to the streets of Kent to give desperate ABBA- related harassment another go. Fortunately I was a bit luckier than the previous afternoon and managed to grab some useable voxpops (comments from the public.)
The clip will be played on BBC Radio Kent sometime during the week. I'm a bit nervous to hear it go out on air because it's written and produced by myself, whereas the voice overs that I have been recording were scripted by other people.
On Wednesday I'm off to meet a Christian rock band to talk about the difficulty of making their music acceptable to a mainstream audience. Friday will see me head to Underage Festival (despite being too old to buy a ticket) to catch up with Kent acts who are making waves in London.
On Friday I am due to head off to Underage Festival in London to do some filming for Blast TV. The pressure is on to find the perfect outfit!
Monday is a meeting packed day as have the opportunity to sit in on a meeting with the BBC Kent Introducing team. We discuss the progress of the radio show and the tour and how the show plans on developing.
Later on in the day I meet with mentor Karina to discuss Kent festivals for a bank holiday show that is being planned for the radio. It is exciting to think that my 'expertise' is required!
Grinning and bearing it for the camera!
On the previous Thursday I was asked to record a voice over for a webtrail, (a short clip for the radio that explains what is currently featured on the BBC website.) Today people compliment me on how it sounds and I feel all proud!
On Tuesday it is back to work and I settle down by what appears to have become 'my computer' to write my story on BBC Introducing. I also have my fingers crossed that the Morris Dancers of Kent will reply to my emails!
On Friday I pop into the BBC Radio Kent studio to help out on The Dominic King Show. I get an email which has me jumping for joy- I've been asked to attend Underage Festival. The radio show's producer Steve looked on bemused as I jiggle for joy in my chair!
I still haven't had a Morris Dancer response so I decide to do some old fashioned phone calling after the weekend. The local festival I was due to visit has been cancelled by the police so I decide to write a story about local internet film legend, Ben Loka.
Monday officially sees the start of my eight week Blast placement. I do my best to fit into the office environment of the BBC Kent newsroom. The BBC Kent centre is where regional news program, South East Today is filmed (and yes, the studio is fascinatingly tiny.)
After a couple of hours I realise with horror that I have forgotten the obligatory ‘first day donuts’ for my mentors Hamish and Karina. I make a mental note to remember these for Tuesday!
My first assignment is to write a piece that basically sums up my interest in Kent arts and culture and why I wanted to become a Blast reporter. I feel nicely organised as I have already typed out the piece at home and think I just need to copy and paste it online.
Unfortunately CMS, the online page builder utilised by the BBC, turns out not to be as simple as I had first thought and I spend what must be hours fiddling with teaser, lead and body images, arranging links and simply getting confused with apostrophes!
At the end of the day Hamish, Karina and myself gather on the sofas at the end of the office for a meeting (no Sir Alan style boardrooms here) and we talk about potential stories I would like write. Whilst we are talking a random plate of cheese and crackers is deposited at the end of the desk where I was working. Journalists swarm round. In less than ten minutes only crumbs remain.
On Tuesday I write a piece on a festival and get to grips with Photoshop. Luckily I don't need to airbrush any of my pictures but there is a lot of re-sizing to be done.
Teaser images, (the photos you see on my main Blast page) are a different size to lead and body images (pictures used in the piece itself.) They have to be adjusted to specific dimensions so nothing looks out of place in comparison to the rest of the website.
As Blast is a very flexible placement I decide to make the most of my time at BBC Kent and ask if I can help out with the Dominic King show which broadcasts between ten in the morning and 1 in the afternoon on weekdays. Luckily they're looking for help and before I know it I've been invited along to Thursday's show.
last updated: 09/09/2008 at 14:32