Students change angle of attack when hit by COVID-19 restrictions

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Lenny Johnrose (Credit: ITV)

Sports journalism students create podcasts with former professional footballer after documentary filming was postponed

Two University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) students have not allowed the coronavirus restrictions to signal the end of their sports journalism project.

Undergraduates Ashley Edwards and Charlotte Le-Noury had just started filming a documentary with former Burnley and Blackburn Rovers footballer Lenny Johnrose about having motor neurone disease when the Government announced the strict constraints.

The students changed their angle of attack and decided to utilise technology to create a weekly podcast instead. They have been supported by lecturer Gerrie Byrne after she interviewed Lenny.

This podcast is a great way for us to keep up our journalism skills and to help Len with his legacy so we are now trying to ensure it's shared as widely as possible.

Ashley has written a blog about the project which you can read below –

The opportunity to work on the Len Johnrose podcast alongside fellow student Charlie Le Noury and former footballer Len is an amazing one at a time when we all need a challenge to get us through lockdown.

Being able to work with an ex-professional is an honour in itself and this is only the beginning of what I think will be a very successful podcast about his life living with motor neuron disease.

Podcasts really interest me as everyone can give it a go - but being a student journalist, we hope we can bring a lot of our new skills to the format.

Anyone can sit behind a mic or a phone and just chat. However, the best ones take planning and organisation,  so we do prep with Len before pressing the record button, ensuring it's going in the right direction and making sure that the content is interesting and relevant.

Lenny Johnrose at his computer

Lenny Johnrose at his computer

With podcasts, you can literally talk about anything in a very conversational and accessible way.

Ours is about Len's disease, but also about his football career and all of his amazing stories. Len is very easy to work with and has the best sense of humour.

Even with all the doom and gloom of coronavirus, Len can still make anyone laugh. He’s such a nice bloke and makes this podcast run smoothly by recording voice clips for Charlie and I.

We both study journalism at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston - I do the sports journalism course. This opportunity was offered to us as we both hosted our own podcasts - mine is a North West football talk show and Charlie’s is a news round-up. We were put forward by our tutor Gerrie Byrne, and even though we didn’t know much of each other before this we now work together really well and have become good friends.

I chat with often with Charlie and we come up with ideas, use and edit the voice clips to create content for the podcast and then co-host.

This podcast interested me mostly as I love the idea of working with a former footballer but also all the skills and experience I will build doing this will be priceless. We are still continuing our normal studies in lockdown, but this gives us an added interest.

Len will eventually lose his voice and he is recording phrases to be used in the technology that will allow him to keep communicating.

I also hope this podcast will be a great thing for him and for his friends, family and his fans.

The fact that we can still record remotely when in quarantine using the an app is great. It’s simple to use for us and Len.

This podcast is a great way for us to keep up our journalism skills and to help Len with his legacy so we are now trying to ensure it's shared as widely as possible.

The Len Johnrose podcast is available on most podcast platforms.

Ashley Edwards | 07 April 2020