3.9 magnitude, its epicentre on the outskirts of a quaint village… 10:25pm on the night of Wednesday 28th, the residents of the smallest county of Rutland did not expect the earthquake that came.
Thumps, crashes, and other descriptions came from the mouths of all those who experienced it.
As soon as I stepped into school the day after, the air around us was abuzz with stories – every detail of a person’s experience shared with others.
Somehow, for me and a few others, the day would have even more excitement. During my second lesson, I was pulled aside by the teacher in charge of the media team, and told that two TV crews were coming to Catmose College to interview students on their experiences.
At first, I assumed it would be two independent film crews that we had probably never heard of. But, I soon found out, it was in fact the BBC and ITV that wanted to interview us – us, students from a school seemingly in the middle of nowhere to the rest of the UK!
The BBC came first, along with Paul Denton, a College governor and seismologist from the British Geological Survey who came to share his knowledge of what had happened, and how.
Members of the Catmose Media Team and I, as well as some others that had experienced the quake, came up with questions to ask Paul while the BBC filmed.
Their enormous camera and tripod even seemed to make our equipment seem inferior, and soon we were all sat together, ready for the interview to start.
It was decided I would ask Paul the questions, so as the BBC filmed us, I asked Paul questions; everything from who he was, to how earthquakes are caused, to the seemingly strange connection between two tremors last April, here in Rutland.
All the while, the BBC cameraman was moving around, getting the best angles. Once we had done this, the BBC interviewed Paul – the journalist interviewing seemed to know exactly what to say to get the right response, showing just how much experience she has compared to us.
After this, the BBC asked each of us our accounts of what happened; we told everything from what we found in the morning, to how it felt that night, from Cottesmore, the epicentre, to further away.
Soon, we were done, and during our early lunch break, the BBC team edited the film in the back of their van – their editing programmes a lot better than our basic ones.
After lunch, ITV came; the cameraman doubled as an interviewer, and purely wanted our experiences of the quake.
A few more students had joined us, so they were interviewed first; then, a few of the original people were interviewed too. Although I was not interviewed, I still enjoyed watching the interviewing process, and how they seem to predict the answers of the interviewee, then shape the questions around that.
The ITV man then wanted us to stand at the touch screen board, and look at maps and diagrams showing the earthquake as a group, discussing them together.
Looking at the map, each reported feeling of the tremor recorded with a yellow and red star, make the size of the earthquake be put into perspective; there were stars from Birmingham to Cambridge, to Leeds, some even further afield than that.
Then, we were finished; interviewing done, we headed back to our lessons, quickly explaining to our friends what had been happening. We all knew that we may not all make the cut, and may be left ‘on the floor of the editing suite’, to quote the BBC journalist who interviewed us.
Unfortunately, East Midlands Today, the first video to be broadcast, was shown during our lessons, so we did not know whether any of us featured or not.
However, as soon as I got home, my mum showed me the lunchtime East Midlands Today, that she had recorded; and there I was, on regional television!
On East Midlands Today, you could see all of us, but the individual interviews with me, with Lily sat next to me, and the interview with Calum, were kept.
Sadly, ITV did not use any footage from the school, but being interviewed and watching the process was still a great experience for us all.
I would like to thank ITV for filming us, and the BBC for filming and featuring us; after all, school children from a town rarely mentioned did not ever expect to be involved with television, let alone about an earthquake that literally shook the East Midlands that Wednesday night.