FOUR pupils Magherafelt High and three other schools enjoyed a day working with the BBC in the studios of NEELB.TV at Antrim Board Centre. Guided by BBC reporter Karen Atkinson the pupils prepared a mini version of the BBC’s Newsline which was webcast live on the BBC’s Northern Ireland website.
They also contributed the UK weather nationwide on the BBC red button and had a slot on BBC News 24 across the UK. The huge LED screens in Belfast and Londonderry carried the live webcast as did the screens inside Broadcasting House. The pupils also recorded an interview with Stormont MLA and Chairman of the Assembly’s Education Committee Mervyn Storey in the NEELB.TV studio. It was all part of the BBC’s ‘School Report’ theme which introduced school pupils across the UK to work within a busy media environment. All sixteen young people had a role to play as presenters, reporters, floor managers, camera, graphics and autocue operators with Slemish College weather girl Emma Dillon emerging as a potential star of the future after her slick presentation to a national TV audience. BBC Producer Stuart Portis was in charge of the day’s activities while the rest of the BBC team could stand back and let the young people and the team from the North Eastern Education and Library Board’s web-based television channel deal with the technical aspects of putting out a live programme on air. The head of NEELB.TV Peter Simpson said: “The students who produced the programme were a credit to themselves and their schools. All in all it was a pretty staggering achievement as we were the only live output from Northern Ireland.
“The BBC team was extremely happy with the event and commented on the professionalism of the students involved. Some of the BBC team were getting phone calls to their mobiles from colleagues wondering how the programme was being produced ‘outside’ of the BBC infrastructure.”