Foundation students put reporting skills to test with live radio interview

Foundation Journalism Students

A group of University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Foundation Entry Journalism students have been hard at work investigating a local charity news story in Preston city centre as part of a project.

The group of five students were shadowing Sally Naden, BBC Radio Lancashire presenter and UCLan alumni and Honorary Fellow. Sally was presenting the slot this lunchtime and was on hand to pass on her top tips to the budding reporters.

The one-year Foundation Entry course aims to introduce students to the basics of storytelling, along with the academic study skills required to progress onto one of our highly regarded undergraduate journalism degrees.

One of the students, Robert McGain, explained: “Today, as part of our project work, we are interviewing John Poulton, the chair of the Rwanda Group Trust live on air. The group got assigned a task and were given charity shops to investigate and do a news story on.”

Fellow student Lloyd Hewitt-Robinson added: “We went around the standard ‘big name charity shops’ but then came across the charity shop Rwanda, which is based on Sykes Street in Preston, and here we got the foundations for our story.”

He continued: “The reason we chose this specific charity shop is that out of every £1 given to the charity, 90p gets given direct to the charity. From there, we pitched the idea to John Clayton at BBC Radio Lancashire, who loved the idea.”

John Poulton is the chair of the Rwanda Group Trust. The whole organisation is run by unpaid volunteers, both in the UK and in Rwanda. With eight Trustees, around 30 shop helpers and other volunteers, the only overheads are the expenses of running the shop in Preston.

William Hesketh talks about the benefits of the project as a foundation student: “Not only is this a benefit to me and the group, but it can also help us get our feet in the door for future use. It’ll look great on our CV and also give us the relevant experience we need to further our careers.

“Journalism is a very competitive field so we’ve got a bit of an upper hand, we’ve been shown how to use the tech and explained the things we need to know. We’ve gained valuable experience in terms of how to act and what tone of voice to use on radio whilst also gaining important techniques.”

Lloyd feels it’s very beneficial to have the BBC involved. He said: “We had to go away and do these assignments and then pitch the idea to the head of radio at BBC Radio Lancashire who loved the idea.”

Maria Jacovou added: “It’s really good to make connections with the BBC as we haven’t done anything like this yet. We’re learning a great deal on how to write and it gives us a great advantage.”

John Poulton, chair of the Rwanda Group Trust, said: “It’s a fabulous opportunity to publicise the shop and the work the charity shop Rwanda does in Preston, and a great opportunity to appeal to new people to support and get involved. Acquiring the use of students is a great thing, they work well; individually, as a team and with myself! Not only can this send a message to other students but it also gives them a drive to work hard. The students involved in this project will have a great boost and not only will it look great on their CV but they have also gained hands-on experience.”