Well the FE Print and Publishing students took part in a mock press conference at ConocoPhillips UK Humber Refinery. They had spent a couple of weeks researching who ConocoPhillips were and what they produce, before looking at petrochemical disasters in the media and thinking about the type of questions they might need to ask.
The press conference focused on a fire at Tetney Oil Terminal and the group had three senior managers to grill about what had happened. Things started slowly, as nerves got the better of some of them (even though they’d practised this many times before, in a room of strangers it became intensive). Their questions had been prepared before, but they had all been told to listen and ask follow-up questions (a good journalist will always listen). The group soon warmed up and were asking some interesting questions and true to form the ConocoPhillips management responded with their set answers on safety.
At the end feedback was given from both sides and then they split into three groups and went into break-out rooms to conduct one-to-one with the managers. Now they were prepared, for they’d rehearsed and had got off to a fine pat, their questioning techniques – questions on injuries, the environmental impact, how it happened, about their safety record, etc, etc.
It was a great experience and a big thanks to Nina Stobart and the managers for allowing the students to interview them. Another highlight of the day for the students was all receiving a “Clint” usb stick and pen plus lunch. It’s amazing how easily pleased they are. All of this was for a purpose and it was filmed for assessment and I have to say no-one failed!