Students got an insight into the news-making process last week when ITV came to Cambridge to film reactions to the Prime Minister’s Brexit speech.
Trinity’s Schools Liaison Officer Caitlin de Jode, herself a recent Trinity graduate, helped spread the word that national television would be in Cambridge – which ITV chose to illustrate a pro-Remain area of the UK, in contrast to pro-Brexit Mansfield.
With sunlight glancing off bicycles and mist rising from the Cam, the stage was perfectly set for filming. Choosing Trinity was a coup for the College, although initially cameraman Devon Wellington didn’t seem that impressed.
Once in Great Court though, he couldn’t stop filming. ‘This is all right,’ he admitted. Producer Fran Infante rolled her eyes.
In the College Bar, those students who volunteered to be interviewed by political correspondent Emily Morgan gathered beneath the TV screen for Theresa May’s impending speech. Some students looked on curiously; others ignored proceedings. Bar staff took the filming hubbub in their stride.
The crew had the whole day in Cambridge – including an interview with Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory Director, Dame Ottoline Leyser, and several tech companies. So, unusually for news gatherers, they had plenty of time to talk to students about the Brexit package – destined for ITV news that night.
While Emily Morgan came to Cambridge (74% remain), Ben Chapman visited Mansfield (71% leave); the contrasting views were aired on ITV Evening News at 6.30pm on 17 January 2017.
Of the Trinity students interviewed by Emily Morgan, two made it to the final cut: second-year HSPS student Richelle George and third-year English student, Lauren Brown. Naturally, they had a lot more to say than that aired on ITV.
Richelle George said her biggest concern about Brexit was ‘the increasing trend towards right-wing politics, discrimination and xenophobia it signifies.’ She said: ‘Much of the Leave campaign was characterised by racist anti-immigrant sentiment and my main concern with the Prime Minister’s most recent speech was that it largely glossed over this. My fear is that these feelings of discrimination are being left to simmer unchecked in the general public.’
Also interviewed was Agustin Ferrrari Brun, a second-year HSPS student, who had similar worries about Brexit. ‘My biggest concern about Brexit is that the government decides to adopt populist xenophobic measures to counteract its incapacity to reach the unattainable goals that they set themselves during the campaign. I think that the number of foreigners in the UK isn’t going to decline but I am afraid that is quite probable that their working and living conditions will do,’ he said.
Although he voted to remain, second-year HSPS student, Hani El-Bay, thought there were ‘definite advantages to Brexit.’
‘I understand the concerns that led to Britain voting to leave, and don’t by any means believe that Brexit is going to spell disaster. Being outside the EU and no longer constricted by the Common External Tariffs gives us the chance to expand our trade with nations beyond the borders of Europe on our own terms. That’s an opportunity we should welcome, and it’s important that we make the most of it however we personally voted in the referendum,’ said Hani, adding, ‘despite not being featured in the final edit of the recording, it was a great experience to be interviewed!’
Trinity’s Schools Liaison Officer, Caitlin de Jode, agreed it had been worth it. ‘It was great to see two Trinity women, from different parts of the UK, discussing their views about this really important issue on prime time national television.’