College students cover high profile press launch

City of Glasgow College HND television and journalism students filmed the launch of a fundraising campaign to erect a statue of Nelson Mandela in the city of Glasgow.

Sir Alex Ferguson, former Manchester United Manager, attended the press conference together with Glasgow’s Lord Provost, Eva Bolander, and the chair of the Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation, Brian Filling.

The television students Angus King, Callum Morrison, Jamie Murray and Joe Sharpe were joined by second year journalism students, Marc Bowman and Kerr Hall.

It was a memorable experience for all, as Marc describes:

“Our team headed early to the City Chambers to set up the cameras and get a feel for the layout. The BBC, STV, Scotsman and Daily Mail were just some of the media covering the event. Taking part in small talk was fairly new to me but person by person it became easier.”

“Arriving early allowed Kerr and I to discuss and adapt our questions to get the answers that we were looking for. The moment Sir Alex, the Lord Provost and Brian entered the room the press conference got underway. Microphones were set up and the Foundation set out their proposal.

“Kerr and I were the only journalists able to interview Sir Alex Ferguson which was the highlight of the day, and I think shows his commitment to the next generation.

“As a lifelong football fan it was an honour to talk to the greatest football manager of all time, and for a whole 10 minutes. He was a natural of course in a media environment and I felt the experience helped improve my interview skills. There shouldn’t be anyone to feel nervous about after interviewing such a prominent figure.”

For Jamie Murray and his fellow television students, it was a very worthwhile practical experience:

“It put what we’ve learned so far into action and in a high profile situation. Our course work at college had prepared us to operate in a professional environment and I was delighted that we rose to the occasion when the pressure was on.”

Journalism student, Kerr Hall, added:

“Speaking on behalf of all the students I can say it was a surreal experience and one that I will never forget. It shows the fantastic opportunities the college can give you. Getting an insight into how a real press conference works was really interesting, and it was also beneficial getting work experience at a professional level.”

Sandra Gunn, Faculty Director for Creative Industries at City of Glasgow College, said:

“The students were placed into a professional environment and did not look out of place. They were a credit to themselves and to the college.”

Glasgow awarded Nelson Mandela the Freedom of the City in 1981 and in 1986 renamed St. George’s Place, Nelson Mandela Place. He visited Glasgow in 1993 just a year before he became his country’s first democratically elected President.

The Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation was established to create a statue of Mandela in Glasgow. The centenary of his birth takes place in 2018 and marks the 25th anniversary of his visit to Glasgow to collect the Freedoms of nine UK cities – it is also the projected timescale for the campaign.