Journalism students scoop Madeline McCann world exclusive

Trainee journalists at Leeds Trinity and All Saints College found themselves at the centre of an unfolding international story yesterday when the spokesman of the McCann family visited them.

As it was announced yesterday morning that Portuguese police are to halt their enquiry into missing girl Madeline, spokesman Clarence Mitchell was giving a talk to government press officers taking a public communications course at the college.

Journalism trainee Rachel Jasper approached Mitchell after his lecture at 10.50am and had the story on the college’s Bradford Community Broadcast radio station at 11am – before BBC and Sky News.

One of the postgraduate television teams broke off from a story they were covering in another part of Leeds to rush back to the college for their own report and found themselves vying for interviews with Mitchell alongside Sky, BBC News, Press Association and local reporters.

In the scrum were former Leeds Trinity postgraduates now working in the industry, including Alice Bailey, Radio Aire news editor, and Sophie Hazan, a senior reporter with the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Jason McCartney, postgraduate television tutor and a former Yorkshire Television reporter, said: ‘They have seen at first hand the rolling news agenda in action. Being given the chance to see how the professionals act on a real, live news story – and then to cover the story themselves – is a fantastic opportunity.”

After conducting a series of live and recorded interviews in the college’s grounds, Mitchell did a live Radio 2 interview with Julian Worriker from Trinity’s ISDN-equipped radio studio.

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