Friday, 25 September 2015

Week 2 with The Naked Scientists

Monday began as it did last week: searching for news. We found a lot of interesting stories, and divided them between us. We all struggled today, as most of the stories came from the USA, and so there was a lot of waiting for people on the other side of the world to wake up!

The portable recording equipment
On Tuesday it became apparent that a few of the stories weren’t going to work out, so I called a researcher from Cambridge whose paper we had seen a press release for on the university website. The phone call did not turn out as I wanted it to, and instead of doing a research call I ended up booking a face to face interview with her for that afternoon! This prompted some speedy tuition on how to use the mobile recording equipment (right), and some less speedy navigation around Cambridge to find the zoology building.

I made it through the construction site and eventually found the reception. I was then led down to the “beetle lab” where rows of boxes of soil (and beetles!) were kept in cupboards. It was on the walk down that I discovered the professor had actually been on Radio 4’s Today programme that morning talking about her research! No pressure for her next interviewer then…

We got down to the lab and, after brushing the beetle off my chair; I sat down and set up the recording equipment. Everything worked: result!

The interview went OK – she was excellent as she’d prepared answers for the questions from Radio 4, but I could have done a bit better. It’s definitely harder when you’re doing the interview face to face.

After another navigational fail, I made it back to the office and successfully uploaded the audio from the interview before calling a potential interviewee for Kat in the states. That all went OK so I went home on Tuesday feeling pretty good!

Me getting nervous before my live Q&A!
The last one to leave the building
Wednesday morning saw the group meeting and editing my piece. Chris then mentioned that he had a regular slot that evening on BBC Radio Norfolk where he answered science questions live from the public. And that he would like an intern to go along with him. Guess who volunteered! I couldn’t decide if I was excited or terrified, but it did mean I spent most of the rest of the day fretting. I did manage to get my news piece finished before heading down to the studio and dialling up Chris.

We were soon live on radio! I was quite nervous at first, which I’m sure you can tell, but as soon as I got a question I knew the answer to I relaxed. I am very glad I did it, but I’m not sure I would have said that at the time. You can listen here, starting at 2hrs10 ish.

Thursday saw some final editing tweaks and then writing up the story to a news article. I discovered (too late) that you should never re-record questions and cut them back in. This prevents any chance of twisting what your interviewee has said. For me, this meant re-doing the edit I had spent Wednesday afternoon doing! The end result was worth it though, and I was pleased with the edit. It didn't make the news for 5live, but it has been published as a special. Thanks to Rebecca Kilner for talking to me!

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