Students from Bournemouth University are gearing up for one of their biggest collaborative projects to date – as they plan to provide media coverage of the UK elections.
Students from the Faculty of Media and Communication will be working across television, radio and online to provide live updates of the election results as they happen overnight on 7 May 2015.
In the run up to the election, teams of student journalists will also be writing content for online audiences to give information and commentary of key battles, seats and news.
Students will also be working alongside the Bournemouth Echo to provide coverage for their website on the night of the election.
In advance of the campaign starting, former BBC College of Journalism and former Today Programme editor Kevin Marsh spoke with students about their plans and gave them an overview of the Ofcom regulations that they will be subject to.
Kevin said, “An election is the absolute pinnacle of what journalism is about, it’s about giving people information they need to make up their own minds about how they want to be governed. You can’t get more central to journalism than that.
“I think the kind of involvement that Bournemouth University has is amazing and we are going to see with the 2015 election a very different kind of election, but I think it’s going to be an election result that most people in this generation are going to experience from now on. We are going to have to get used to this sort of fragmented politics. It’s great that these guys are going to get a dummy run as it were!”
Kevin will act as Editor-in-Chief for the election coverage, with student benefitting from his experience with the media, as Kevin was also the editor of BBC Radio 4’s World at One, and with reporting on elections.
Karen Fowler-Watt is Strategic Lead for the project and Head of the Journalism and Communication Department at BU; she said, “We’ve had a group of student editors sitting around a table with Kevin Marsh from the BBC, someone who has covered seven elections, talking about their ideas for pre-planned material, by media and online.
“This to me is co-creation at it’s very finest, its students working with industry and with students learning in an education context about how you will be doing these sorts of things in the world outside. Our engagement with the Daily Echo in this, with reporters going out to the counts using students themselves is the epitome of co-creation.”
The coverage has already started with a special edition of The Rock student newspaper leading with a poll conducted that states that 42% of students are still undecided about where their vote will lie, with the news also reported in the Bournemouth Echo.
When asked whether students were up to the challenge, Kevin replied with the ‘line that all good media reports should end with’, “So far they have been good but, one thing is certain, only time will tell…”