Student Reports on Royal Visit

12 March 2020
Prince Charles

Third year Journalism student Joe Buncle secured a press pass to report on HRH Prince Charles' visit to Cornwall last week (Friday 6 March). Working on location in Newquay with fellow student Charlie Currie, who studies Sports Journalism, he delivered live updates and clips to the third year news team back at base in the Falmouth Campus Newsroom, before editing and uploading a full video package.

This is his account of the day...

I was delighted to be picked to cover Prince Charles' visit to Cornwall. It was a great chance not only to cover a significant story for the region but also to work alongside the mainstream press pack. This included reporters from the BBC, Heart Radio, ITV and the News Media Association.

The Prince visited Celtic Sheepskin Co Ltd in Newquay as part of the firm's 30th anniversary celebrations and attended a reception to mark another 30th anniversary – Cornwall-based charity Surfers Against Sewage – before opening a school at the Nansledan development.

My colleague Charlie and I had a taste of what it's like to be part of a royal rota 'press pool', and were entrusted with keeping embargoed news to ourselves prior to the visit. The top secret information, now public knowledge, was that the UK's future King was to become the patron of Surfers Against Sewage. This was planned as the news angle of our final report and meant that we could pre-prepare additional footage, such as a piece to camera filmed at nearby Fistral beach.

We were briefed by staff from the Clarence House communications office. They directed reporters into positions which allowed us to get good footage, whilst making sure we didn't get in the way too much. We were determined to get strong pictures but tried to keep in mind that this was a big day for the people from the company, charity and school. We didn't want their meetings with the Prince to be spoilt by us pesky reporters. I think we achieved this, although I did nearly knock over a ceremonial cake.

We were on the rota for the Celtic Sheepskin Co visit. Whilst there is limited news value inherent in a 71-year-old being given a new pair of slippers, I found it nonetheless interesting to see a member of 'The Firm' at work. We stayed ahead of the Prince as he followed the predetermined route through the wool warehouse, filming him as he shook hands and asked questions about the manufacturing process. Charlie and I had the advantage of being a multi-camera operation, and so were able to shoot from a variety of angles, at times getting much closer to the Royal visitor than I had expected.

The visit concluded in typical style with a plaque being unveiled by Charles. I remember wondering how many hundreds of such plaques he had seen in his working life.

We did not have press passes for the official opening of Nansledan School at the Duchy's latest housing development, a successor to the traditionalist new town of Poundbury. But we waited outside and afterwards secured an interview with the CEO of Surfers Against Sewage and filmed the departure of the royal convoy. To keep the bulletin team up to date, we phoned the newsroom and conducted a two-way interview, in which I briefed the radio presenters on the day's events. Through collaboration with editors in the newsroom, the footage and voice track that we sent to the newsroom was then made into a short AV report.

Overall I feel I gained some valuable career experience, not least because we were reporting from the field and sending footage back to the newsroom in time to meet deadlines, which gave me an idea of what it might be like to be part of a live reporting team.