As stated in my previous post I reported on a story in Boscombe for a News and Journalism assignment. I uncovered a story which I followed up after the assignment was handed in, as I was keen to report on any further developments. The Boscombe Centre for Community Arts (BCCA) building was occupied by members of the Occupy movement and associated groups such as Anonymous who were fighting Bournemouth Council’s plans to demolish much of the historic site and build flats for first-time buyers. The occupiers wanted to restore the building to its original purpose, opening it up to the community once more. I uncovered an offer by a local GP to purchase the site and open a health clinic inside the building as well as retaining, and restoring, the community arts facilities. After reporting on this, I decided to head down to the site once more and report on further developments.
Although my assignment was handed in, I knew that the occupation was not finished and decided to report on the occupation in a larger article for Bournemouth University’s newspaper, ‘The Rock’. Booking out a DSLR camera and a dictaphone, I headed down to the site and took photographs and interviewed the occupants again. That evening, the BCCA was host to a poetry evening. A mixture of occupiers and residents gathered in front of a makeshift stage, where people took turns reciting their own poetry in the once disused auditorium. A guitar hooked up to an amplifier, as well as a drum kit, were also present, leading to jam sessions. Melodic guitar riffs were played in the background as the poetry was recited in the dark hall, with only the stage lit. Occupiers had painted their own artwork, and set it up around the stage and in a room which was becoming an art gallery. It was a moving night, and I was glad to have attended. I managed to grab some useful photographs and quotes, and although I was there as a journalist, I felt moved by the aims of the occupiers. They wanted to reopen the community centre, and felt that the council was ignoring the wishes and needs of the local community. As one occupier said to me, if Boscombe gains more houses, it will need more community centres, not less. Despite trying to remain objective and detached, I felt that their aims were honourable, and resonated with their cause.
What began as a report for a simple 300 word article turned into something greater. I felt that the BCCA story was too important and interesting to ignore, and so headed back after the assignment was handed in to report on the poetry evening and see how the occupiers were getting on. In doing so, I felt more comfortable with seeking out and reporting on news stories, as well as finding and speaking to sources. I felt that reporting on the BCCA story was a valuable experience, and I was glad that I followed it up.