Me & My Shadow: breaking news
Two young women with epilepsy "stole the show" when reading the news during a recent Me & My Shadow placement at ITV.
Hannah Griffiths, a 22 year old from Bristol, and 21 year old Lauren Norcliffe from Brighton were the stars of the show as they had a sneak peak behind the scenes at the ITV News Meridian studios in Hampshire. They even had a go at reading the news themselves, and although the cameras were sadly off, ITV's editors were very impressed by their confidence and composure.
Hannah and Lauren were taking part in the Epilepsy Society's Me & My Shadow scheme which places young women with epilepsy with leading figures from business, politics and the media.
For Hannah and Lauren, both of whom have an interest in the arts and media, it was a jam-packed day.
The day started with the morning meeting where news reporters and editors gather to decide the key stories of the day. This was followed by a tour of ITV's spacious studios located just outside Southampton, before Hannah and Lauren had the opportunity to meet with the digital team and weather presenters. The afternoon was spent observing pre-recordings of news programmes before watching the 6pm news broadcast live. And, best of all, Hannah and Lauren had the chance to sit in the newsreader's chairs themselves.
Speaking fresh from the news room, Hannah told us: "The day with everyone at the ITV Meridian team was incredibly insightful and I had a brilliant time seeing what goes on behind the scenes to create the news programmes and bulletins. From planning the stories of the day, to seeing the organised chaos of the newsroom 15 minutes before going on air, I found the whole day really interesting, and of course the highlight was seeing the programme be put out live at 6pm."
Lauren shared Hannah's enthusiasm for the day, saying "When I first arrived, I was greeted warmly and informed about the day's tasks as well as the studio's overall culture and ideals. I was given a tour of the filming studio, weather report room and the programme room. I was additionally given a chance to try reading the news while controlling the speed with which the words cascaded on the screen using a foot pedal, which was quite difficult!"
It was a meaningful day for ITV staff too - and a fun one.
"I hope Hannah and Lauren enjoyed the experience as much as we did", said Kim Hewitt, Programme and Digital Editor at ITV Meridian
"The Me & My Shadow scheme is a fabulous opportunity to spent time with people in an industry you're interested in as a career. Bravo to the Epilepsy Society for making it happen."
"Our guests spent time in the Gallery, with our Directors, and in the Studio where they 'had a go' at news reading themselves - and, boy, were they good! They stole the show!
Me & My Shadow is designed to allow women with epilepsy to think big and learn more about the career opportunities available to them. Sadly, we often hear that finding fulfilling employment can be a challenge for people with epilepsy; in some cases, there is a lack of awareness about epilepsy from prospective employers, and even a stigma about the condition.
As recent graduates, Hannah and Lauren are keen to enhance their employment prospects. And Me & My Shadow has served as a fantastic step up the career ladder.
Hannah said: "I learnt a lot about the world of broadcast journalism, and it’s given me a lot to think about regarding my career. I am very grateful to everyone at Meridian for being so welcoming and taking their time to introduce me to their world. The diversity in the newsroom was really encouraging and showed me that it is an industry open to everyone.”
And Lauren agreed, saying, "I spoke with producers and news editors and finished the day by witnessing the entire live broadcast. It was a wonderful day spent with amazing individuals."