Out of this world! Student reporters quiz astronaut and host of world figures

By Jill Dando News reporters 

A NASA astronaut, World Cup winners, a Messi and Ronaldo training expert and BAFTA and OSCAR winners are among a host of world figures who have been interviewed by reporters aged 8 to 16 during Covid19.

The 25 student Jill Dando TV reporters from schools in The Priory Learning Trust took their good news interviews across the globe over the last few weeks.

In a unique and exceptional extra curricular Period 6 learning subject, Principals, teachers and Jill Dando’s vastly experienced journalist brother Nigel Dando all watched on.

The students learned a host of life tips from some world figures including from NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock.

They lined up two interviewees a week which included top writers from Aardman, who helped make a host of major films including Chicken Run and Paddington.

TV presenter Ed Chamberlain, Washington news correspondent Andrew buncombe, sports author James Witts, government ministers James Heappey and John Penrose also had question and answer sessions.

And inspirational world-cup winning Nolli Waterman, and other national and international journalists, Media people and authors were also part of the Jill Dando TV project, launched at Worle Community School Academy last year.

Students from WCSA, The King Alfred School Academy, Priory Community School Academy, St Anne’s Church Academy, Castle Batch School Academy and Pawlett Primary School Academy took part.

The Jill Dando News Centre initiative was started at Jill’s old school Worle Community School Academy in Weston-super-Mare in 2017.

Jill Dando News and JDTV has since spread to other schools in The Priory Learning Trust and also to Malawi, Africa.

The aim is to train children to find and write real-life stories in Jill’s style, which then go into the Media and Social Media – filling people’s minds with positive news in an era of bad news.

Neville Coles, CEO of TPLT, said: “Our students were magnificent in every way, producing interviews and hosting world figures with excellence and maturity.”

Olivia Finch, of WCSA, and Aimee Braithwaite, 14, of PCSA helped launch JDTV in style on 27th April 2019, the 20th anniversary of Jill’ death.

They both scripted, produced and presented their own piece for BBC TV Points West – the first ever production of JDTV. On the same day, dozens of students, teachers, Principals, former Headteachers, journalists and TV crews gathered at WCSA.

Then for JDTV in August 2019, students including Dawson Panter-Wray, then aged 12, of The King Alfred School Academy (TKASA), were the first journalists in Britain to interview new Prime Minister Boris Johnson inside Downing Street. 

A month earlier Dawson and other JDTV reporters had filmed and interviewed Mr Johnson at their news centre at TKASA, while at the same time being given journalism tips by Sophy Ridge of Sky News.

Our Good News reporters with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.


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