Last weekend I was reporting at the Sunderland International Air Show. What I mean by that is that I was with Spark FM covering the 3 day event. It was a very busy and tiring weekend, but all the same it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my journalism career to date. But what was it like? Here’s a weekend in the life of a reporter and news reader at the air show.
The airport was my first destination for Friday. It was pretty warm and there were a lot of flys, but despite that, I was gathering interviews and watching one of my colleagues fly in a OV-10 Bronco.
I got to wear a high-vis jacket too – yellow is definitely my colour!
It was a great experience but I had to race back to university as I was news reading ahead of the launch.
I wasn’t at the launch event of the air show, as I was back in the studio reading Drivetime bulletins. I’m normally a news reader in the morning or in the early afternoon, but I read the news bulletins at 3, 4, 5 and 6 on Friday. It was definitely a great experience as I learnt how to do a live link through Skype to one of my colleagues who was at the air show. That was just one of the many things I learnt over the course of the weekend!
I headed home after the 6pm bulletin as it was an early start!
Saturday was my first full day at the air show as a reporter – and news reader. Unfortunately one of my colleagues was unwell so I was drafted in to news read. I didn’t mind of course because I am a news reader, but it’s fair to say that it was stressful. We were delivering news bulletins every half an hour and we had to pre-record them outside. There were a lot of people around and it was quite nerve-wracking. I also had to learn to use Multitrack in a short space of time – but I did it! There were some tense moments, but I really enjoyed the experience.
After my news-reading shift, I had a quick break and went out to report. I love reporting as much as I do news reading so it was great that I got to do both on Saturday. It was great to develop my improvisation skills and to enhance my interview skills too because I got to go out and interview a lot of people – from community groups like the RNLI…
To the pilots who were flying in the skies throughout the air show and the engineers who fix the planes! I definitely learnt a lot more about aviation on Saturday so my knowledge increased too as well as my skills.
Saturday saw me walk over 15km – which for my legs was a lot! But I wasn’t complaining because it was all worth it! I headed home at 7pm after a long day – but on Sunday I was up early doing it all again!
I wasn’t too tired but that’s because the “air show tiredness” hadn’t set in yet.
Sunday was the last full day of the air show. I was news reading from 10am till 12pm and this time it was a lot less stressful – I was calmer this time. After my bulletins it was time for me to go out and report – again! But this time I got to go to the media cabin and hang with the big guys – the pilots and the commentators of course!
It had started to rain at this point, but I didn’t let it dampen my spirits. It was cold and wet but I didn’t mind as I got to watch some of the plane displays.
I also got to go down onto the beach and watch the beach assault – which was a loud and proud experience. I had a lot of respect and admiration for our armed forces before this experience, but after hearing what they have to hear, it made me respect and admire them a lot more!
After a lot more running around getting interviews, I headed back to Spark’s base and edited a few interviews and spoke about my experience of covering the air show – albeit not on this very cosy couch!
The tiredness had started to set in before 6pm on Sunday, but I battled through it.
All in all it was a brilliant experience over the three days – from start to finish. I actually felt a little bit fitter too as I walked over 25km across the Saturday and Sunday. Way to go Sophie!
Last year I was just a spectator and saw Spark running around – did I wish that was me, I didn’t think it would be. This year, I was one of the members of Spark running around – and I loved it!