First time “Question Time”

“Question Time” is a TV program made by BBC. As BBC says it’s “Topical debate, with political and media figures answering questions from the public”. It looks like this:

We do have a TV studio at the City University London where I study Journalism. And we do our own “Question Time” every Friday. Our studio looks like this when it’s busy:

And like this just today before we started (photo provided by Claudia Romeo)

Today was the first Question Time for me. A couple of days ago I’ve got an e-mail telling that I had to pick three currents news, one about politics in the UK, second one on International politics, and the rest one could be any.

I am not very good at politics, so just a couple of days before Question Time I grabbed a big pile of different newspapers and magazines to read. I didn’t limit myself only on politics but also spoilt myself with something I really enjoy doing, like Photography and art. Here’s my pile on the double-decker’s chair on my way back home.

I began reading the news knowing practically nothing about British political system but it was rather easy to figure out which party is where, who’s the leader and so on.

The next day several girls from my course and I gathered at the library and did some research. It was a great fun. There were some more papers in the library, though most of them were quite old. Fortunately, we had The Independent, The Guardian of that day and few wonderful news resources online, like BBC.

From the very start we felt the mood of the newspapers regarding what parties they support, though we also noticed that it’s not like they just write “good stuff” about one party and “bad stuff” about other. It’s just a very slight feeling that they sympathize someone way too much. At least that’s kind of feeling we’ve got for now.

I will just outline the news that we in our heads during this period.

1) UK Politics: Ed Miliband’s speech in Manchester

2) UK Politics: `off-payroll` tax arrangements

3) International Politics: Obama vs Romney debates

4) UK: A missing five-year-old April Jones

5) Facebook surpasses one billion users

We divided ourselves into groups of five people each. I’d like to point out that I always try to interact with as many different as possible during groups forming. What I mean is that most people I already know, and we spent quite of the time together, but I try to choose just random people. It’s nice to know more people and just to be able to work with anyone.

This time our team consisted of Andrea from Slovakia, Erik from Norway, Maria from Norway, Jack from England and me. I already used to do the Streetwise project with Jack. But I’ve never worked with others.

The Question Time usually have one person who is called The Chair, it’s the person who sits at the middle and he or she is a presented, introducing people, doing this kind of stuff. Other four people are answering questions from the auditorium. They can also debate with each other or with people from the auditorium. Besides those there’s a technical team, floor manager, other people who make this program possible and not visible on the screen. I will just mention that there’s a Floor Manager, a person who counts 5-4-3-2-1 when everything starts, and also gives microphone to people in the auditorium, also shows if the time is up and so on.

Andrea was the Chair, four of us were The Panel (people who were going to answer the questions). The thing is that The Chair has just 8 seconds to introduce every person from the Panel. So, it should be really brief. 24 words exactly! 3 words per second πŸ™‚

So, we gathers information about our team, so Andrea could present us. Then we were told we should pick the news. We chose Ed Miliband’s speech. Most of us knew what it was about and by the end of our preparation time we told each other a lot about the whole thing.

Then almost at the end when other groups were showing their work I realised that we’ve got a problem. We have no “killer statistics”. Killer Statistics is numbers that make people “wow” and be interested in telling about it to other people. Like, “did you know that 80% of humanity lives on less than 10$ a day”. That’s killer statistics.. We didn’t have any statistics in any newspaper we had and we had something around 5 minutes before our “5-4-3-2-1”

I began to research right away. I couldn’t use any notes, so I could to remember all the numbers in my head. “The poll leaped from 18% to 34%.. One of three people changed their minds to vote for Miliband. He’s No10 in the list of possible Prime Ministers in 2015” Something like that. And that was our time..



Streetwise project, first work on the streets, different people

On the first day of our induction week we already got the real journalistic task. Our group was devided into smalled groups, four people each and we were given directions where in London we should go and find the story to tell. Then we had to do three minutes presentation and present it to the audience and tutors.Β 

My small group consisted of three more people I didn’t know. All three of them were native-English-speakers and at first I could hardly understand what they were talking about when they talked to each other. There were two girls, Sophia and Shanique, and a guy named Jack. Girls spoke really fast. I didn’t know them on Facebook or anywhere before, so I was really scared they wouldn’t like me.Β 

The aread we had to research was around King’s Cross railway station (Goods Way, University of the Arts area and so on). We decided to meet at 10 around the station. First of all, I got lost and they were looking for me everywhere. Then we began our walk. From the first minute I understood that Sophia knew lots about journalism. Jack was mostly silent, just like me, and Shanique spoke so fast that I didn’t even understand half of what she was talking about.Β 

I had my camera with me, so all I could thought about was that at least pictures don’t need me talking, so I can do that part.Β 

In some moments Jack and I began talking and then he pointed at the canal. I’ve seen swans and lots of litter on it, so we came down and took some pictures. I was really shocked to see that.Β 


I was really have to have an opportunity to apply my photography skills. Then guys decided to talk to people around. That would be a bitter pill for me to do. I am usually too afraid to be rejected and it takes all my braveness to just come to the person I don’t know and start talking. Sophia was an absolutely master of that. She just came to people and started talking, and most of them were happy to take part in our investigation. There was a man who even didn’t mind us taking Β video of him, he was a cleaner. So we had pictures and video! We walked around the area and found some more stories but this one about the litter was the best one. Jack was really good at pointing out different things to photograph. He was not into photography and he said he wasn’t interested in it, but his ability to observe such stuff was really amazing.

At the end of this work on the streets we all went to McDonald’s to eat. Of course, I was eating my food because I can’t eat McDonald’s. Fortunately, Jack wasn’t eating it either. He told us that he wanted to save on food so he bought 10 kg of pasta! 10 kg!! πŸ˜€ And he had a huge box of that pasta, and he was eating it with me. Girls got some proper McDonald’s stuff and were really nice telling me I could eat some, but I couldn’t. Then we began talking about personal stuff and we came up to the topic of my age πŸ™‚ They were surprised, but quite okay that I was so much older. Jack couldn’t believe I was almost 10 years older. At the end of the day I felt really great I had such an amazing group of people to work with.Β 

We decided to meet today in the morning and make the presentation. We were working in the morning, then we were working on the evening till very late. And we’re going to work tomorrow morning as well. Then we’re going to present it.Β 

I learn lots of English being around them. All three are really nice people and ready to help and explain everything to me. They know lots on the subject!Β 

But the best part of it all is that they let me do all the artistic stuff. I feel so good drawing everything and doing this kind of stuff, to make everything look good. Shanique really helps me telling when it’s already “good” and I should stop trying to find imperfections in what I am doing.Β 

At the end of the day Shanique and I was walking to the Angel tube station together. We were almost hit by the motocycle and I never felt that close to being hit. Just a second and we both wouldn’t be able to present our presentation tomorrow.. but we survived πŸ˜€ next time we should watch where we go more. We were too into our discussion that we didn’t notice the red light and.. We talked about black people and Shanique told me a lot of the interesting things.Β 

During the day I talked and met lots of different people who study journalism, we talked about their countries, Β Iran, France and Norway and about Russia. It was really interesting to know such things. I was pointed out an article from the Economist by my new friend Eric from Norway, and I read it on the go. It’s the first article I read in the Economist. Then we had a meeting with the journalist from the Gardian and she told how she worked there and all the stuff. Unfortunantely, sometimes I couldn’t hear what people were asking. And even though Eric sat next to me, his question was so complicated and about politics that I didn’t understand what he meant even though I understood all the words.. So, for me this meeting with the Gardian journalist was not that helpful.Β 



first day at the University

First day at the City University was amazing. I met so many people, I’ve heard so many motivating words, the whole atmosphere was really great. Everyone tried to make me feel comfortable and relaxed. I wish I could say the same about Moscow State University. Here the difference was dramatic, nobody tried to scare you with the exams and make you feel down. Here we all felt special that we got into the “best journalism department” in the country. They also made us feel that they’re going to do their best to make professionals of us.

My mind isn’t that clear. I haven’t slept much this night and the day before I was flying almost the whole day from my long trip. But if I don’t write it all down right now, tomorrow my head will be full with other events. So, I’m sorry for the messiness.

I needed to get up very early to pick up my Student ID. Here’s the most popular shot among my friends-students.


Even though I was promised long queues and expected to wait a lot, everything was organized so well, that it took me just 15 minutes or so to get this ID.

I was really impressed that so many people tried to help me and asked “Are you okay?”.

Facebook is an addictive thing for sure, but it was really nice to be at the City University and know half of my group just because we added each other. First person I met at the City University was Elisabeth. She recognized me, we hugged and I wasn’t alone anymore πŸ™‚

That was Elisabeth with our City University mascot on our first introduction lecture πŸ™‚

I met really lots of people.. the whole day was full of talks and laughs. At first we had a welcoming coffee, everyone was so friendly and nice. But anyway, my new friends, Andrea and Zhuliyana and I decided to take some portion of calm πŸ˜€


yes, and that’s we are. I know I look bad on most of those photos but it’s my way of rebelion to show that I don’t mind silly/not perfect pictures of myself πŸ˜€ it’s to remember the moment and it’s no need to be too much worried about appearence when there’s a smile on my face πŸ™‚

I noticed that everyone was hanging around the personal tutor. I was socialising with everyone so most likely I missed mine. So I went and looked for him. I checked every tutor and the last one was just standing his back to me. I looked at his badge but it was face down. So I just took it and turned face up. The guy was so into the talking to other students that I thought he wouldn’t notice. Well, it was funny cause the badge was on his neck on the chain, just like mine πŸ˜€ so he was observing what I was doing. Then we had the most fun introduction.

“John, I’m Kristina, you’re my tutor”

“Where are you from?”


“Where in Russia?”


“Ah, you probably say so because you think I wouldn’t know another city in Russia, don’t you?” said John Rennie, my tutor.

I laughed, actually, yes πŸ™‚ I’m not from Moscow, but I lived there for 10 years, and the rest of the places I lived were not for too long.

I don’t remember what else we were talking about but we had to go to the lecture and I had to leave. But he made a really nice impression on me. I don’t have a pic, but if I ever do I’ll post it here in this post πŸ™‚

Then we had introduction lectures, and lunch, and talks and lots of laughs.

I met so many lovely people. I remembered most of the names, but there’re still so many.

At the end of the day we went to chill out at the University bar Saddler’s. Our friends from the City of Westminster joined us and we had a real blast.

During our chill there were two moments I’d like to remember. First one was that I was asked to play some instruments on the stage but they didn’t have drums. I had a nice talk with a nice guy who told me if I would play drums they’ll get drums πŸ™‚ Then he played the guitar and sang and I really enjoyed it.

The other one was because of my non-nativeness of English. Well, we were playing a game, the whole bar. And I was kind of winning. It was a play for reaction, and only two people left, the other girl and me. So, actually it was impossible to decide who would win with the same rules, so they made another rule. The guy called the name of the animal and if it’s an animal, then I have to make a step, otherwise I have to shoot. Needless to say that the music was loud and I couldn’t recognize what he was telling and the native-speaking girl could, so she won πŸ™‚ and I got the second place which wasn’t too bad. But I wish I knew English as a native πŸ™‚

Tomorrow morning we’re going to work on the streets in group of four people. My group consists of three more people I haven’t hanged around with, so I’m just a little bit worried πŸ™‚ All three are native English speakers and when they talk.. or when they talk I feel like my brain turns to be a F1 car πŸ™‚ it can’t process data so fast. But it’s a good practise.





about myself

I don’t really want to talk about myself but I feel like I have to πŸ™‚ Just so the reader would understand why I have these or that thoughts.

I start my studies at the City University London, Journalism department. It’s the second degree I’m going to do. I look rather young and act very young, and feel young. But, unfortunately, I’m the oldest person in my group and probably in the whole year 1. I’m turning 27 this November. I know if I didn’t point it out, nobody would guess. But I’m not that kind of person who feels like hiding it. Every year is experience and memories and people, and, well, everyone will be there one day πŸ™‚

I did my first degree in Computer Scince and Mathematics. It’s a Master Degree and I got it at the oldest and the best Russian University, which is Lomonosov Moscow State University.

Photo found online (from Wiki) cause I haven’t been to Russia for a long time and can’t make the shot myself..


I was very good at studies and got it almost with honours πŸ™‚ At the year 3 I got an internship at Samsung, then I worked for several game development companies as a software engineer. At the year 5 (my final of Master Degree) I was proposed a job as a lecture assistant along with the job at Octonus Software (a nice company doing research and software for diamond factories). I worked for 3 years like that. I thought about doing Ph.D. But something very dramatic happened in my life. I got very much ill.. and I re-thought all my life. Even though I wasn’t too bad at programming, I didn’t enjoy it at all. I was just 16 when I started doing my degree, so.. it was a wrong choice.

I always enjoyed writing.. letters, stories, anything. I never thought of doing it professionally especially in English. It’s not my native language. It never will be. But one day I was convinced by my closest friend who I know for 10 years. He made me apply to the University. With my GPA (it’s the score you get when you get a degree) I could apply for Master in Arts. But I didn’t have any journalism background and thought it would be just too quick, one year.. and I made a crazy plan, to do the whole degree from the start.

So, now I’m studying journalism with boys and girls who are 7 to 10 years younger than me πŸ™‚

I had some journalism experience last year when I wrote a couple of articles of drug policy in Russia. It was a good time and I met lots of interesting people. I think maybe my major will be a human-rights reporter, but I’m not sure.

What else is there about me? πŸ™‚ I like juggling, spinning poi and fire, playing drums, lost 30 kg two years ago, I have a very young 6-year-old brother, I have two sausage dogs.. I am professionally interested in photography, studying for a diploma (very slowly) for it. I like dancing, being active, traveling. And I like people. That was my biggest fear that people won’t accept me cause I’m so much older.. but it seems like everything is going just fine πŸ™‚ more about it in my next blog

introduction :)

Hello! My name is Kristina. And I’m going to write this unofficial blog about my Journalism studies at the City University London, because I was rejected to write the official one πŸ™‚ As this is going to be the unofficial blog I’m going to write it in my natural manner of total openness and honesty πŸ™‚ I will include here all my friends, who are the part of my life. I’ll try my best to update it often and describe everything in the way that anyone outside the University community will understand what I am talking about! It’s for the memory and just to have fun because I really do enjoy writing. All comments and thoughts are more than welcome πŸ˜€ Let’s get going πŸ™‚Β