YSTV Week

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YSTV Week
YSTVweek.jpg
Genre: News
First Broadcast: 29 May 2003
Last Broadcast: June 2006
Producer(s): Jonathan Bufton
James Thorniley
Kate Rushworth
Kat Sutton
Lucy Watkins
Kev Larkin

YSTV Week was the replacement flagship news programme for Bulletin created by Jonathan Bufton and was launched in May 2003.

Beginnings

YSTV Week was born out of a desire to produce a better news programme than had been done immediately previously. At the time Bulletin had slowly declined from being twice daily to just twice a week, and was seen as a chore by most members. It was decided to start a fresh with a new concept.

It would focus almost entirely on campus news relevent to students. There was a gap in the market for this at the time - Vision and Nouse were being published only ever three or four weeks, and URY's The Source usually relayed national news sent to them by SBN or IRN. Bulletin in turn had usually regurgitated the contents of the York Evening Press's website towards the end, so it was decided to do something very different, and very studenty. Unlike Bulletin it would be weekly, so give more time for preparation and more time to produce other genres in the studio.

The new name was chosen by the active members of the period. A number of options were floated including the producer's favourite Seven Days - however this was vetoed as it was thought to conjure up images of Craig David rather than news!

Programme Structure

The programme would always aim to lead on a campus story, and later in the show would move onto local news or national news relevent to students, such as the top up fees debate. There was a real desire to avoid covering national stories as it was felt national outlets could do that better with their resources, and YSTV should stick to what people would come to the station for - campus news. There would be far more VTs previously (the final incarnation of Bulletin would rarely carry any video content) utiliting the new Edit PC, although on occasion the lack of anything to film would lead to a very verbal programme. It was occasions such as this that gave rise to the phrase "packed with fact" (as opposed to video), and eventually this became a sort of unofficial slogan for the programme - with Greg Dyke even agreeing to say "you're watching YSTV Week - packed with fact" to camera after his interview in May 2005!

After a few stories there would be a paper review, using the new remote-controlled overhead camera known as DeathStar to look at the campus and local press. A 'guest publication' also became a regular feature from 2004 onwards, usually examining the latest trash-mag such as Nuts and Chat! (there were also some great death star shots of a nude model whilst the presenters were reviewing Attitude magazine). The paper review was really only included to pad out the show to thirty minutes, as Bulletin had a reputation for being ridiculously short towards the end. However even after the news content increased the section stuck as a relaxed "half way" point between the serious news and more light-hearted items , and it was even carried over to YSTV News.

This was followed by a "campus events" roundup. This was a 1-2 minute VT with all the events on campus (as the name would suggest) for the next seven days, produced as text overlayed on a purple-tinged version of the title sequence, accompanied by a down-beat version of the theme tune (which later went on to become the theme tune to Bona Dicta).

Following this would be sports news, again from campus and the local area (the whole exciting saga of York City FC changing their ground's name to Kit Kat Crescent was covered in full) and then a full weather forecast using YSTV's new chroma key mixer. Finally there would be an "and finally" story.

Most importantly the show would have banter from the presenters, as Bulletin had become rather dry towards the end. This went as far as the presenters actually introducing themselves rather than launching straight into the first story after the title sequence.

The show would try to act as a "review" of the previous week, rather than the latest news, as by staying non-topical it could be repeated for the following seven days (using the Video Server, although the first few editions were repeated by running the tape "live" from the control room). Highlights of the first episode can be seen in Small Screen's Summer 2005 Week 6 programme. The Freshers Week 2003 booklet described a a typical week's edition of the programme being put together (well as typical as you could have given there had only been three editions by that point). Read it here.

Set, Titles and Theme Tune

The YSTV News "colours" were cream and purple, and this was reflected in the graphics. The programme recycled the set from Elections 2003, designed and built by John Biltcliffe and Andrew Talbot. This was also to be used for Bona Dicta and future Elections programmes in order to try and build a corporate image for YSTV's News and Current Affairs output, similar to the BBC since 1999. In addition, two arrangements of the same piece of up-beat library music were used for these programmes.

The titles were a fast-paced compilation of shots from around the university, edited by Dave Baker, with words superimmposd by Ed Jellard. However these words were dropped in favour of the "clean" version in January 2005. The set was also repainted a darker colour in January 2006. Other than these changes, the show remained broadly similar for its three years on air.

Producers

In the absence of a dedicated Controller of News and Current Affairs, the first producer was Production Director Jonathan Bufton, who relaunched the show soon after assuming the post as he thought the flagship programme should be in place for freshers to take part in the following autumn. Soon after the start of the autumn term new recruit James Thorniley took on the show. After the AGM of May 2004, Kate Rushworth produced the show. In the Autumn of 2004 a new Deputy Controller of News and Current Affairs post was added, to assist with what was becoming a rather large workload. Kat Sutton joined Kate as co-producer from January 2005, and come May Lucy Watkins became the sole producer, again joined by Kev Larkin towards the end of 2005.

Graphics

Initially YSTV Week had no graphics as such. The graphics machine in YSTV at the time - an ancient Commodore Amiga 1200 - was coming to the end of it's life, and was too unreliable to use, apart from one edition when it managed to churn out the end credits. A new Graphics PC was adopted in Autumn 2003 and dedicated YSTV Week graphics were made by Ed Jellard. These amounted to name captions, story captions and end credits, in a very similar style to the last year or so of Bulletin

In May 2004 first year Rowan de Pomerai designed some new graphics, designed to be viewed on YSTV's monitors in bars around the uni, which were usually silent. They were far more dynamic, large and noticeable than the previous ones. In particular each story was accompanied by a small summary at the side of the screen. These graphics were commended at NaSTA 2005, although sadly the programme has never won at the ceremony. The graphics would slide onto one side of the screen and then wipe upwards, covering an entire half of the picture. This meant all camera angles had to be checked before the programme. On occasions when they hadn't been set up correctly the graphics would appear on the wrong side, and then cover the presenter entirely!

Presenters

YSTV Week had no regular presenters as such, and subscribed to the YSTV tradition of anyone being able to "have a go". However certain people presented more editions that others, such as James Gallagher, Kat Sutton, Will Hotham, Kev Larkin and Lucy Watkins. The same principle applied for the weather, although for much of 2004-5 that section of the show was hosted by Anthony Laverty in his own imitable style.

Weather

Weather had been attempted before on YSTV's news output - most memorably on location with Chris Ward during the Bulletin era, where he would turn up in a variety of locations with 1970s BBC-style stick on symbols, including once in the Goodricke lift. Other times basic on-screen graphics were attempted, with even some basic chroma key at one point. By the end of Bulletin however the weather was a verbal read-through of the forecast, which for TV was fairly pointless.

This changed with the arrival of YSTV's chroma key mixer. Initially the weather was presented from a green board mounted on a set board (see Green Screen), using Ed Jellard's WeatherEd programme. Images were usually stolen from the BBC's weather website. From January 2004 a whole wall of the studio was painted green, which made the set up far easier. Later Drew Perry wrote a programme that produced YSTV's own weather graphics, entitled WeatherDrew.

Website

YSTV Week was also one of the few programmes to have its own dedicated website. The YSTV News website ran from early 2004 for around eighteen months, and was constructed by James Thorniley but mainly updated by Kate Rushworth. It would feature transcripts of that week's stories, photos and polls on the week's news. As Vision and Nouse's websites were dormant during this period (and URY had no news site) it was the only online source for campus news during this period, something pointed out by the posters YSTV put up to advertise the site. It was taken offline in summer 2005 after someone managed to hack into it and take the main YSTV website offline!

Spin-offs and Specials

  • Term highlights programmes were produced in December 2003 and 2004. These were presented differently to the normal show in that the editor of the programme at the time linked clips from around the YSTV studio and control room.
  • A top up fees special was hosted one Tuesday night in January 2004. The parliament vote on the introduction of top-up fees was due to be announced just after Bona Dicta finished so it was decided to stay on air and produce a special live programme on the announcement, using BBC Parliament as a feed. The programme had a large number of viewers in the bars around campus and was notable for getting the results of the vote on screen quicker than BBC News 24!
  • For Children In Need 2004 a special spoof edition of the show called YSTV Week Extra was recorded, featuring innuendo and dirty stuff.
  • Greg Dyke's in-depth interview in the YSTV studio in May 2005 was intially expected to be edited as a news item but was so lengthy and wide-ranging that it became a programme in its own right. This also featured "behind the scenes" material.
  • A spoof edition of the programme was made by Sarah Leese in shortly after the end of the show's regular production in May 2006 satirising many elements of the show.

The End

In 2006 the post of Controller of News and Current Affairs was axed, along with all other genre-specific roles. In future producers of each individual programme would be elected outside of AGMs. There was no-one willing to take on the role of producer of the programme, so in May 2006 regular production of the programme ended. A few weeks later new Production Director Sarah Leese produced a one-off spoof edition of the show, satirising the format of the previous three years. At the end of the summer term a new pre-recorded format of the programme was attempted, with presenters on location and the programme far shorter. However this took copious amount of time to edit, and so the idea was not continued. This turned out to be the last edition of the programme.

It would be December before the next incarnation of YSTV's news output appeared, suitably enough called YSTV News. In the meantime the YSTV Week set was used for new show FourPlay, although later was used again (minus desk, and a couple of re-paints later) for YSTV News.


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