Twofour supported the Navy’s training programme for ships, submarines and the Royal Marines in the UK as part of their media training and presentation skills modules.
Each warship has a Press Officer on board, and part of Flag Officer Sea Training’s rigorous formal assessments of the readiness of a vessel and her entire crew to go to sea, is the evaluation of their success at dealing with an on-board media visit.
Christopher Slade, a highly experienced BBC and ITV current affairs reporter and presenter, took a small TV camera unit and visited for a day to make a report, testing the Press Officer while they were evaluated by the Flag Officer Sea Training assessor.
Christopher said: “The ship is under quite a challenge from me and my cameraman. I need information quickly, need to be able to interview people and have my own tight deadlines to meet – getting enough footage for a story. Also, as a reporter, I write much of my material after I leave, so they have to be on the ball when it comes to making sure they tell me what they think I need to know. I am always ‘working’ – so casual chats over a cup of tea are always ‘on the record’.”
“This is intensive training, as it tests the whole brief engagement with a visiting TV crew and curious reporter. The Press Officer is expected to have made arrangements beforehand to set up good interviewees, arranged “action” to see and film, and should brief the reporter in a way that is of use. In addition, and adding to their challenge, the role of an on-board Press Officer is in addition to their normal duties. They are given feedback and a ‘score’ by FOST at the end of the visit.”