Day one at the Tweed Daily
I phoned the day before starting and was told to come in with a few story ideas. I checked out the local council website, read some news from the area, came to grips with what was happening and then scribbled down all my ideas.
First up, gave my story ideas to the editor, which were then added to the list to be nutted out at the morning’s news conference.
My day was set. Many, many, many phonecalls, lots of hangups, lots of rudeness and a lot of messages left. Panic began to set in as the deadline for the day was coming closer and closer, but then everything seemed to fall into place.
I was amazed how reluctant local businesses were about giving information.
I was checking out whether jewellery sales were any different coming into Valentine’s day and nobody wanted to talk. I got referred on and on to media, CEOs etc. etc. but really failed on that assignment. It was a good lesson learned. I then headed down the restaurant track and got some very rude and also some very friendly responses. I got plenty of proposal stories and other special requests, descriptions of the perfect menu and more. I had difficulty arranging photos which was amusing because I was of the view “who wouldn’t want a free ad in the local paper?!” but it was my third restaurant that finally came to the party with this photo opportunity.
The other story I was chasing was an update about Kingscliff erosion. It was meant to be a good news story about the fact that the sand has returned and the local caravan park owner and surf club were happy to give an interview about this. Many messages and fob-offs later by the council though and I got some great insight as a report was about to be released to pretty much say that the erosion will happen again and it’s only a matter of time. The local council was going to have to decide on a ‘protect or retreat’ approach to the beaches. This is a story I am looking forward to continuing!
The other story I was chasing was a local business owner who’d hosted a fundraiser for a children’s charity. The paper had many photos from the event but no story to go with it. Very interestingly, the business owner was absolutely not available for comment, which was odd as it was another good news story and would have been some fantastic publicity for him. Instead, I scraped a story together through his PA and did my best to make it interesting.
Best part of the day was the knowledge that my preparation helped as it was the stories I went in with that were the stories I spent the day on. It was challenging and quite eye opening but a good reminder that journalism is not always easy. Certainly a lot of fun, certainly challenging, and certainly worth all the effort to see your name in print and the words you spent all day trying to get together.
Tip to other interns: GO IN WITH STORY IDEAS. All they want is stories. If you are not working on one, think of one. If there is really nothing going on, ask if you can go out with one of the other journos and at least watch them at work and watch them go through the process of news gathering and then writing. It’s amazing how the story you think of may quite quickly become something else, or you gain from an interview, something that is a whole other story in itself.