Radio and journalism students explore broadcasting with the BBC – FE News

Level 3 radio and journalism students at Cambridge Regional College (@CRC_College) had the chance to see how the BBC operates under lockdown when they attended a Radio 4 interview with lecturer Andy Darley.

Before the pandemic, BBC producer Kate Bissell traveled the world conducting interviews for her shows. With coronavirus forcing her to work from home, she used Zoom to talk to Andy for an episode of his podcast, The Digital Human, exploring treasure hunting in the physical and online worlds.

At Andy’s request, the interview took place during a scheduled radio and journalism class, with the students joining the call as observers. Afterwards, Kate answered questions about how the BBC has adapted to making programs under COVID-19 and gave advice on radio interviews.

Andy, who teaches in the creative industries team as a lecturer in digital media and journalism, said:

“Our media students are just starting their last big projects, and they are obviously concerned about what they will do if the virus prevents them from using college facilities such as the radio studio. Having the chance to see how the BBC overcoming similar challenges is incredibly helpful to them.”

Kate was keen to speak to Andy about her experiences in 2007, before becoming a lecturer at Cambridge Regional College, when he won a £100,000 prize as the winner of a groundbreaking alternate reality (ARG) game called Puzzle City.

He said: “The game marked a milestone in the development of digital media and new ways of telling stories online. My role gives me a unique perspective that I can share with students when teaching interactive and online media.

The game, which lasted over two years before Andy’s Victory ended, saw players follow a complex story about a priceless scientific and spiritual artifact that had been stolen from the fictional town of Perplex City and buried somewhere. on earth.

Players had to decipher clues, solve puzzles and follow blogs to deduce the hiding place of the artifact – in reality, a cube of metal – with the cash prize going to whoever unearthed it.

Perplex City wasn’t the only ARG to catch the attention of puzzle fans at the time, but it was the only one to mix the form’s usual numerical clues and storytelling with a real-world treasure hunt, cash prizes and accessible access to the game. through puzzle card packs sold in stores around the world.

Thousands of people around the world have joined the game, cooperating through online forums to collect the maps, solve the puzzles, and identify the hidden clues bringing them closer to discovering the Cube’s location.

Andy said: “For much of the game, players worked together to solve the puzzles, some of which were very difficult. As we got closer to locating the Cube, it became more competitive. Everyone wanted to be the one to find the Cube.

Players eventually deduced a general location for the Cube, in the woods of Northamptonshire, and Andy was one of many who dropped everything to head there immediately in hopes of solving any final clues. It took three separate visits over several days, as other players also visited, but he was eventually able to match a photo clue with a specific area of ​​the woods. Using skills developed as a volunteer during archaeological digs, he was then able to identify an area of ​​soil that had been disturbed when a hole had been dug and filled – and soon after he unearthed the Cube to win Perplex City.

Andy describes what he felt when discovering the Cube: “I didn’t know what to do. My mind swung between handing the Cube over to the game developers and keeping the Cube so my identity would remain a mystery forever. In the end, I thought it was important that the game ended the way it was intended – it would have been unfair to other players for the game to end any other way.

Concluding on his experience with alternate reality games and Perplex City in particular, Andy said: “At the end of the day, the game wasn’t about winning because no one ever really believed they would be the ones to win. would find the Cube. The experience was more about the community that evolved and the support players showed in solving puzzles collectively. At the end of the match, there was a feeling of loss. We had spent two years solving the mystery and suddenly it ended. Living in an alternate reality world is hard to leave for those who often find the real world a difficult place to live.

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