Relay baton
Credit: By tableatny on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
Universities across the world are taking part in a 12-hour Global News Relay, led by the University of Salford, with journalism students delivering live bulletins and broadcasting pre-recorded news packages.

The 'relay' – taking place today (Thursday 27 March) – is being hosted by the University of Salford, under the banner of Quays TV, which is then connecting to 10 other universities to deliver the 'relay', including three in the US, and others in Norway, Australia, Dubai, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The University of Salford's journalism students are running a regular "international news bulletin" and weather broadcasts, before transferring to a new university, which then delivers its broadcast, all available to view as a single stream via YouTube.

Each other university will broadcast for between 30 minutes to two hours, before handing back to the University of Salford, lecturer Sarah Jones told Journalism.co.uk.

Global News Relay 2

The aim of the project was "to collaborate with other universities" and give students a taste of delivering news with an "international perspective", she said. Students have been using Google Hangout to connect with other universities during the planning stages, to hold editorial meetings.

The broadcast began at 9am and will run until 9pm. Due to the time difference, the section from Melbourne's RMIT University was pre-recorded and will be played later today.

As well as streaming the video broadcast, the team is also running a live blog, and capturing behind-the-scenes interviews with those taking part using Bambuser.

For the journalism students, the experience will help to hone their newsgathering technique, Jones said, as well as help their "communication and collaboration" skills.

It has also been an opportunity to experience running a social TV project, Jones explained, an area of focus for her own research. The students are using a tool called TVInteract, she said, to manage the social conversation during live broadcasts.

The app lets presenters collect "video, images or tweets and broadcast those on our big screens behind us" using an iPad, she explained.

There have been some lessons learned already, said Jones, such as the need to ensure you always have content, or at least a live presenter, to hand, as was necessary when they hit a technical problem regarding audio from the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai, India.

There are plans to make the project even bigger next year, with an aim of extending the relay to 24 hours, and involving a total of 24 universities. Jones said she also hopes to make the whole event even more mobile-driven, from again creating packages on mobile, to also filming on mobile devices in the Quays TV studio.

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