Molly Thompson-Smith on Brexit and fake news on Sky work experience

By Mark Ashenden

Last Updated: 10/01/2019, 13:47 GMT

Molly Thompson-Smith
Image: Molly Thompson-Smith got a lively taste of life behind the scenes at Sky

Molly Thompson-Smith is used to clambering up walls for a living and there were plenty of challenges to scale during a week at Sky News

Fighting fake news and overseeing the production of the latest Brexit debates was part of the agenda as the 21-year-old GB climber got a top insight to life in news production as part of the support as a Sky Sports Scholar.

Here's what she got up to.....


Having spent time on the more glamorous side of Sky with my glamorous mentor and SSN presenter Hayley McQueen, I was intrigued to find out how things went down behind the scenes.

Watching Hayley present, I was impressed with how switched on she was; having to listen to lots of people talking and directing each other, as well as her through her earpiece, and then reading her lines coherently at the same time.

It looked like a tough job! I was surprised to find out that being 'switched on' wasn't only a requirement for those on screen, but just as much for those working behind it.

I was lucky enough to spend a week working in the digital department at Sky, and learn how news goes from just being discovered, all the way to seeing it live on TV and online.

It's an interesting process full of hurdles and complications I had never considered, making it a difficult job - after all, no one wants fake news!

Molly Thompson-Smith  DO NOT USE

I saw news come from all the Sky Sports News reporters, as well as other news agencies, checked, researched, written into articles, pictures found for them, titled and published.

I spent time looking on the internet trying to be the first to find fresh pictures, videos and quotes about events.

I went to planning meetings and observed how decisions were made about what stories to do and where to put them and whether they were worth turning into social or video pieces, or worth sending a film crew and sorting the big news stories from the smaller ones.

As a keen bean for social media, I was interested in how Sky used their social media sites. Alongside my mentor for the week Alex Marshall, I worked on the daily Sky Snapchat stories you can subscribe to.

I started out helping Alex and her team create the Christmas editions, thinking back on the most important (and funny) events of 2018 to come up with some quiz questions. It was actually pretty difficult to recall the stand-out events in a whole year.

It was also nice to look back over all that's happened this year. After sorting some quiz questions, I followed my work over to the graphic designers to see how they made the Snapchat content come to life.

By the end of the week I got the hang of the processes and how the daily Snapchat pieces came together, so I wrote my own piece on this year's Golden Globes! It was pretty cool to see my name on my Sky News Snapchat on my phone!

On my last day I sat in the gallery and watched how 'the news' is organised. The gallery is a room with lots of screens showing all of the Sky reporters across the country/world reporting that day, as well as what's being shown on other news providers.

Producers keep to the right time schedules and make sure the right shots are shown, while the reporters know when to start and stop speaking and to generally direct what appears on your TV screen.

It was a particularly significant week with all the Brexit debates, and it was exciting to sit in the gallery waiting for certain people to speak and cutting parts of the show to go straight to the debate… I felt right in amongst the action.

It was such a great week. I'd like to thank the Sky News digital department for teaching me all about how their department works and how it gets to the public across all the different platforms.