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Journalism students join world's media for election night special

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Orsolya Balazs is a student in Journalism at Brunel University London

Dozens of students from Brunel University London joined the world’s media on their campus to cover Boris Johnson’s victory at the 2019 General Election.

A team of around 40 students from various programmes including Journalism and Politics banded together to provide comprehensive coverage. They were in a unique position because the counts for Mr Johnson and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell took place in their athletics centre. Mr Johnson’s constituency is Uxbridge and South Ruislip while Mr McDonnell represents Hayes and Harlington.

The students grabbed the chance to test themselves as professional reporters, political analysts and film crew members. They set up a reporting hub to produce news, interviews, broadcast and social media content, using their own website, and their twitter and Instagram feeds. 

Students had an opportunity to talk with politicians including Mr McDonnell and Ali Milani, Mr Johnson’s Labour rival, and other journalists from prestigious outlets. Sophie Harris, a final year journalism student, interviewed BBC presenter Andrew Marr about his thoughts on the General Election. 

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Journalism student Sophie Harris with legendary BBC News reporter Andrew Marr


During the course of the night, the live and pre-recorded broadcast from the Brunel studio was led by the former BBC News Analysis Editor Juliette Dwyer.

Sam Watts, third year journalism student, said: “I filmed Mr Johnson as he arrived for the count. For a few minutes, the place went mad, then a helicopter left and it quietened down; that was my best footage of the night.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The first ballot box is in! <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UxbridgeAndSouthRuislip</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Uxbridge</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GeneralElection2019</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GE2019</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; IKB Insider (@ikb_insider) <a href="">December 12, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

The students capture the moment the first votes arrive to be counted

Vaibhavi Khanwalkar, an international journalism postgraduate student who received a press pass to the count, said: “I was lucky to get an interview with John McDonnell. I am very glad about the fact I was able to do it. I thought I did not know enough about British politics because I had arrived in the UK just three months ago, but the course prepared me to have an interview with the Shadow Chancellor.”

Rachel Sharp, senior lecturer, said: “It was a very busy night, as elections always are, but the students were fantastic and worked so hard. It was a great experience for them all working live in a newsroom, and they enjoyed it so much.”

For further information on Journalism at Brunel, please visit


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