Making of YSTV Week

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The following text appeared in the Freshers' Week welcome booklet given to new members in Autumn 2003, describing a production cyle on the new show YSTV Week (and taking a fair bit of liberty in depicting the amount of work involved). The aim was to convince journalistically minded freshers that we were a professional outfit worth joining, not a rump of four members desperately trying to keep anything approaching an output going:

In terms of preparation, our weekly news and review programme YSTV Week is perhaps the most time-consuming production we make on a regular basis. The news itself needs to be gathered, it needs to be packaged into various chunks for the broadcast, scripts need to be written, graphics need to be prepared and, perhaps most important of all, everyone in the studio and control room needs to know when everything is going to happen.

Whilst it is important to stress that different programmes have different amounts of preparation, the following run-up to YSTV Week contains elements that many productions go through before broadcast.

  • Monday

A new week means new news. The editor of the programme for that week will need to keep his or her eyes open for developing news stories on campus and be prepared to follow up these later in the week. The local newspapers such as the York Evening Press will need to be purchased from Your: Shop every day until Thursday so that they can be included in the paper review.

  • Tuesday

Today the editor may begin to start gathering material for broadcast on Thursday’s programme. This usually entails taking one of our new Mini DV cameras out on location to film scenes that might make it into the programme. Scenes that have been filmed during the last year have included Prince Phillip opening the new Biocentre, a charity head-shave at McArthur Glen shopping centre, the protracted building on the music department site and various Union General Meetings.

  • Wednesday

By today there should be a vision forming in the editor’s head of what sort of form the programme will take, and especially of what the lead story will be. He or she will start editing the footage filmed into “packages” (short sequences of up to five minutes in length) which can be inserted into the programme. This is done using our Adobe Premiere editing programme on our dedicated editing PC.

The editor might also contact some people in the news and ask them whether they’d like to come into YSTV for a live interview during the programme. Previous guests have included a representative of York Students in Schools, the organiser of the university’s Oxfam Week and even a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest!

  • Thursday

The day of broadcast – and it’s inevitable that many things will have been left to the last minute! Today the script should be typed up using our “Naffocue” programme, which will give an approximation of the scripted duration of the show. Other jobs to be done today will include going through the week’s papers (including the campus newspapers, York Vision and Nouse, if they have been published this week) and highlighting suitable stories to be discussed by the presenters during the interview. The various slides for the weather also need to be prepared, as does the “Campus Events” sequence, which lets people know what is happening on Campus for the next seven days.

Finally, a running order will need to be produced, which tells the director what cameras are used for each story, and when unscripted chats or interviews are due to take place. At 6pm the crew for the broadcast arrives, and apart from maybe briefing the presenters on what subjects they will need to talk to interviewees about, this is where the editor hands over the reigns of the programme to the director, who will keep the programme together during the live broadcast.

  • Transmission

The programme transmits live to our network at 7pm, and barring any major disasters usually lasts for around twenty-five minutes. As the programme is a review of the previous week it airs again on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7pm. As such it is YSTV’s flagship programme, and whilst putting it together can be occasionely hard work, it is immensely satisfying to see it go out live on air. Previous editors of our news programmes have gone on to work for BBC News, so the job provides valuable experience for anyone wishing to move onto a career in journalism.