Covering COP26: Journalists in Training
The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) has presented a tremendous opportunity for our sustainability minded Sixth Formers. A small group of students were selected following a rigorous interview process, divided into two teams and were swiftly signed up to some top quality training to support the successful completion of their mission.
“The chance to attend COP26 is a truly one-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students – we were keen to do all we could to equip them with the skills and confidence to make the most of the short time they will have in Glasgow.” commented Head of Teaching and Learning, Jenny Powlesland. “As the students’ brief is to create short documentary to share with the LP community about what the future holds after COP26, we started their training with a video conference with our fantastic OLs Ayesha Tandon from Climate Science and LP Governor, Lottie Dodwell, Interpretation Developer at the Natural History Museum. Their insights and messages to the students could not have been clearer: their encouragement to be ready to approach those they meet with well-prepared curiosity and authenticity, and their practical tips and experience on communicating successfully with an audience, were invaluable in helping shape our teams’ responses. We are lucky to have OLs with such enthusiasm who have engaged with our students in such an inspiring way.”
“Lottie and Ayesha gave us lots of tips and important information on how to start our journeys as journalists.” reflected George. “Talking to Ayesha and Lottie was incredibly insightful.” added Grace. “We discussed different journalistic styles and started planning our approach for when we are at COP26.”
Ayesha and Lottie were keen to boost the students’ confidence, reminding them that you can get away with a lot when you are a teenager at an event that will be predominantly adults. Don’t be shy, feel free to accost people, remember there is no settling in time, were just a few of the important tips, together with the fact that “the reason they are at COP26 is to share their work; they will want to talk to you, but everyone wants to talk to them!” Ayesha focussed on encouraging the writers to focus on their audience, to remember that there are no stupid questions and it was not necessary to try to sound clever – the point being to get the story they have to tell. Lottie reminded the Sixth Formers to try to make the story unique and to capture a tone or feeling, a sense of place in order to share the buzz of being there with the audience.
Finn, who with Sam, is one of the two student cameramen, enthused “It was a great yesterday talking to Ayesha and Lottie as their experience and knowledge gave me an insight for what to expect. As a cameraman it was useful to work out what I need to do and to know more about the event so I can plan even if I may want to ask questions.”
Ayesha was pleased to have been able to share some of her professional knowledge saying: “It is fantastic that Leighton Park students will have the opportunity to attend COP26. This event is guaranteed to be a frenzy of politicians, scientists, media personnel, activists and industry experts, and is the perfect opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the fast-paced world of journalism. I am very excited for them and cannot wait to see the work that they produce!”. Lottie agreed, commenting, “It was a pleasure to meet LP’s journalists-in-training ahead of their assignment to report on COP26. It’s an opportunity like no other, I look forward to watching and reading the findings!”
Thinking longer term about the way the experience might help shape their futures, Tisa said, “The talk with Ayesha and Lottie really gave me an insight into the multiple possibilities from which an interest in climate change and responsibility can lead to a career.”
The two documentaries being filmed by the Sixth Formers will be shared with the Leighton Park community during a Collect just after the end of COP26.
Check out more photos from our COP26 activities!