Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting“>Hi everyone, hope your first week has not entirely put you off and instead you are rearing to go week two. Here’s my experiences and as per usual it’s fairly long winded. I’m sure you feel like doing a bit more night time reading!

Day One 7 August 2006

Well I don’t know about the rest of you but I am shattered. I had forgotten what real work was like and indeed remember why I chose to be a student again.

Day one of a new job is daunting and my experience was no different

The newspaper office I’m at is very modern, large, set on a lake, and overall quite nice.

Surprisingly there are only six reporters and yet there seems to be so many staff – production, advertising, photographers etc.

I receive a very brief reccy of the place before being shown my computer and given a quick lesson about how it works

A job awaits me in the computer system, it is about the Girl in a Million quest.

I get onto the organizer, and get some information although nothing too exciting. I then attempt to get hold of one of the entrants but have to wait until 12 before she can speak to me. To keep myself busy I start writing the story with what I have got.

It takes me ages to get anywhere. The office is noisy and I feel very distracted. There are six other reporters within a 2 metre radius all talking on the phone at once (or at least it seems so), the television is raving, and a police radio blares from a distance.

Everyone here is quite friendly though which is a definite bonus.

To show the day wasn’t totally non-productive I send a previous relevant story in the hope it might get published and also think up some new story ideas.

Finally it is time to go home but alas I have lost my keys. I heard about some found keys over the PA system during the day but had figured some other poor bugger had lost them.

I had to ask the Editorial Manager (the guy who hires) to turn off the alarm system so we could scavenge around the reception. This was to no success so rather red faced I bid him farewell and rang my friend to pick me up. 9.00 – 5.00

Day Two 8 August 2006

Today started not a hell of a lot better than yesterday finished. I yanked the bathroom sink tap too hard and it came off. What a disaster, water bubbled out like a fountain going all over the floor and ensuring no one could have a shower before work or leave before the problem was fixed.

When I arrived at work there were two stories in the computer for me. Double work today and the sad thing is it took me all day! I am so slow.

It seems like everything I have learnt has gone out of my head. When the journalist next to me said ditch the inverted pyramid method I feel like I have no idea of what to do.

They seem to take a softer approach to news here. It is all about a catchy novel lead sentence to entice the reader to go further. Apparently it is the new way of papers – even the Sydney Morning Herald is using it?

Supposedly 85% of readers don’t get past the first sentence and it is all about writing for the people not other journalists.

Not sure if I like it. There doesn’t seem to be any rules and not a lot of guidance is given (although the chief-of-staff is very happy to answer any questions).

Basically I have been given a couple of briefs and told to go write. It would be nice if you were given some sort of word count and perhaps an angle or style which is required. I guess that is up to yourself and that gives a sense of autonomy.

To show I am at least trying, I send off my ‘ideas’ email to the chief-of-staff. No response.

Today I get a bit of a grip on the phone system.

I’m so tired, I’ll probably read this some other time and be horrified. 8.30 – 6.00

Day Three 9 August

Probably my biggest disappointment is that none of the journalists (including me) ever seem to get out of the office. One of the main reasons I chose to do journalism was so I could be out and about, interviewing and connecting with people throughout the community. It just doesn’t seem to happen anymore (unless you are Zane at the GCB).

I guess it is all too time consuming and therefore expensive to let you go.

I am happy to cope with long hours for poor pay however being locked inside all day, 10 minutes for lunch and 10 hours in front of a computer, doesn’t appeal so much. I question my choice in careers. Had my whinge.

Learnt about the AAP wire today. If you are ever out of stories you can look up what’s going on elsewhere and try to localize it.

Today when I was looking at the unassigned stories section, I noticed a potential story about the increase of mothers going to universities to get their degrees. As a friend up here is doing exactly that and talks about the high % of mothers in the class, I put my hand up.

As it turns out the editor of the Family Life section, wants a rather big feature. It takes me the whole day. Is it supposed to take that long? It ends up being 1400 words with several people contributing quotes.

My three great ideas this morning didn’t get a mention thankfully. 8.30 – 6.30

Day Four 10 August

Today I got to do a couple of interesting stories. One was to talk to prostitutes about the overnight changes to the Prostitute Act. What other job allows you to pry into the lives of others. A license to life. Love it.

Pretty tricky when I had to ring up the dubious ads in the paper, not too sure if the person was a masseur or a ‘working girl’. All turned out ok though.

Finally, yes finally I get to escape. It is down to the beach with the photographer to do a faux pop (or however you spell that) about asking people for a date over SMS. A story was also required. Enjoyed that.

When I got back one of the other journalists mentioned that you could go out whenever you liked, no restrictions. That may be so, but I didn’t get out until 7.00 tonight (and still not finished) and that was because I was gone for an hour and a half. Seems like it is better to just ring and get it over with so you can get home earlier.

As it turned out with this story (which was published a few days later), they got rid of my ‘expert’ quotes from a lecturer and just left the light hearted stuff. Also the caption used for the photo was the exact opposite to what it should have been. Guess you need to write your own captions. 8.45 – 7.00

Day Five 11 August

More ideas but still I must be off target.

Today I finally get something published. I was starting to get a bit worried, you seem to put in so much effort and then once you have pressed that ‘send to source editor’ button, they seem to disappear to some other stratosphere.

Late in the day I am given a story about one of the most prominent local politicians having a wedding on the weekend. At least this one is guaranteed to get in!

Funnily enough it does the following day (Saturday), the next day and the next day. Strange thing is they used a few of my quotes and sentences in each story. Exactly the same! What is with that? I almost feel like I should be able to claim all of them.

A challenging week with its ups and downs and only one publication. It’s a bit of a shame that there is this notion of ‘sink or swim’ with very little input into your professional development. No program as such, no feedback is given, very little guidance, very little opportunity to move from your desk and see what other departments are doing etc. I realize that to a large extent it is up to me but I want to get all the stories done that are put in front of me and I don’t have time for exploring.

The week is over and all I feel like doing is going out and getting drunk (which I invariably do and then feel awful the whole next day). At least though I am learning and also I have not been pushed too hard. 8.30 – 5.00