Journalism students on Sutton Coldfield College’s NCTJ training
course put theory into practice when a burning tree fell on top of a
train outside their classroom window.
Five budding reporters
broke the story on the college’s internal website within forty minutes
of the incident, in which there were no casualties.
Strong winds blew a tree onto an overhead cable and it fell burning onto the passenger train.
newspaper journalism students gathered eyewitness accounts and talked
to passengers on the Centro service from Birmingham New Street as the
The story was posted, complete with pictures,
before most media organisations had heard about it. Journalism
lecturer, and former Gloucestershire Echo news editor, Rachel Matthews
said: “It was quite funny actually, as I had just been doing something
with them about hitting deadlines and I was making them do running news
“They thought this would be quite hard, but when the accident happened they got out there and did the job well.”