Day 6 Monday Ecstatic day

Today I come into work to see my big two page feature. Nothing like it for the ego. Feels like finally all the work is worth it yeaaahh. Best thing is I wrote 1400 words instead of 900 (asked the editor to tell me which parts she wanted culled) and she left all of it.

Whatsmore the editor was so pleased with it she asks me to do another for next week’s publication.

The Chief-of-staff is away today so one of the assistant editors gets my ‘ideas’ email. He likes all three of them so there’s plenty to work on today and they are all stories I am interested in.

One was of particular interest to me. It was about buying into alternative communities (sorry Desley you told me not to go green), as a cheap way to buy acreage on the coast. I am totally interested in doing this myself so it was great that I could do all the researching at work!

The assistant editor liked the story (the printed one that is) and asked me to flesh it out for a spread. Hopefully it will get a run next week.

An editor of all the free local papers in the area introduces herself and after a chat offers me to come and do some experience with her department some other time. She seemed to like mature age students so in this case being the ‘old one’ has been beneficial. May be somewhere to go on some Fridays during term.

She also gave a good hint. She said that life is so much easier if you put up a list of phrases and joining words that you can keep referring to. Like this idea, should have asked her for the list! 8.30 – 6.30

Day 7 Tuesday Stressed day

Today I feel like real journalist. I have four stories on the go, don’t seem to be getting anywhere and am starting to feel quite stressed. And what’s more two of those cyberspace stories have returned and been published.

An added bonus happened when the ABC rang to ask for details on one of them so they could do a story also. I rang the mother of the opera singer of ‘note’, and she was full of praise for the story I had written. How lovely to get such nice feedback.

I am trying to organize photos for my interesting story idea about alternative options to buying real estate in the region, (focusing on community share type hippy properties), and I do a rather big stuff up.

It was taking me ages to organize directions for the photographers, and I was feeling a little stressed (and subsequently feeling like a real journalist).

After I hung up from one of the residents I turned to my ‘fellow’ journalist and said “these bloody hippies living in Woop Woop it’s taking me ages to sort out the photographers”.

And then came the faint voice from my headphone – “this bloody hippy wants you to get off the phone so I can send you the fax!”

Yep, I ate some humble pie after that one. 8.30 – ?

Day 8 Freedom or maybe not day

Today I got to escape the office and actually interview someone. And I got to use my new swisho voice recorder.

It’s interesting how demanding interviewees can be nowadays. What happened to the days when everyone (particularly business owners) were just glad to get in the paper? She complained about the last story going in on a Monday and not Saturday and not saying exactly what she wanted. Was this going to get a prominent position in the paper or would it be a waste of time etc etc.

Back to the office to start writing it up. Thankfully I have been given the opportunity to write another feature. Name in big lights stuff. Well kind of. Okay not quite.

Then two detectives came to the door and took me away. I kid you not. It was rather embarrassing. Won’t go into it on the net but suffice to say the whole case was dropped (they had stuffed up totally), and I was cleared of all suspicions. Even though I knew I was innocent it was quite nerve racking. Time for a wine 9.00 – 6.30

Day 9 MythBusters day

More phone interviewing for my feature. Just getting somewhere and then I am sent out on a job. Again! Cool it is off to one of the local schools to listen to the writer of MythBusters give a talk to the students.

He was really interesting and thankfully the students came up with better questions than I had written down so there wasn’t much I needed to ask him in the end.

This was my first live story (using the Citrix system). After I had written it up the file became live and I could see how many words I was over (about double). Instead of culling it (and probably cutting out the good bits) I spoke to the assistant editor and asked him to go through it on the screen with me.
Well he just slashed out what I thought were the good bits, and typed in some pretty lame stuff really quickly. Ouch! At that point I realized that I spend way too much time trying to get the words to sound good. People seem to just type in how they speak.

I mentioned to him that I get bogged down in all my notes. He had some good advice. After interviewing someone, think about what you would tell your mate standing at the water fountain. Whatever comes out first (your main impression), that is probably your introduction. Once you have got your into you have your angle and it is a lot easier. Then just type the body in off the top of your head, let if just flow, and then later come back and add the bits you missed from your notes and tidy it up. Sounds so bloody simple!

After that I sat with a sub-editor of 30 years and checked out what he did. Similar to the other guy but more pedantic. He was looking closely for grammatical errors, potential legal implications, writing the heading and making the columns full (rather than having a line with only one word in it).

He said that the problem with newbies (new journos) was that we try to do too much in our intro sentence. We complicate it and make it too long, jamming it with everything.

Fair enough, I’m off home. 9.00 – 7.00

Day 10 Final day

I have to admit I am happy to be finished. Not such a good sign I guess but just feeling a bit fatigued.

Again no real pressure to perform to any deadlines. I have been lucky.

Got to sit in on the news conference today where they decide what goes in and what doesn’t. Kind of interesting how they make the decisions. Not too sure there is any rhythm or rhyme to it, just what they feel like on the day (seemed that way at least).
So do we put the naming of the new hospital location, further advancements with the dam issue or no, lets go the broncos football match. Goodness me I may be a sports lover but on the front page?

Today I worked on my wine article. I have to do one for this magazine in Melbourne so suggested to the daily I do a sunshine coast oriented one. No use doubling up with this writing business.

Keen to interview the chief-of-staff but she ends up having this really full-on long day. Wait to around 7pm but it doesn’t happen.

I’ve got friends visiting for a barbeque. Yeaah first intern session over and out. Learnt heaps, great challenge, loved the fact that every day was different, but ready to come back!. Looking forwards to catching up with you all. 9.00 – 7.00