I spent last week as an intern at ABC’s Stateline. It was a fantastic experience. I worked with K McL on a story about high-voltage powerlines going through the property of some chilled-out owners in the Sunshine Coast Hinterlands.
Anyway, this week I was going back to my roots. I was brought up in Redcliffe you see, so it was only fitting that I’d do some work experience with the Redcliffe and Bayside Herald.
So I turned up in my latte-stained suit (hey, it’s only a small stain and only JC seems to notice) and my bag filled with notes and electronic equipment. The building wasn’t hard to find and neither was the editor. She was extremely friendly but after sitting me at a desk with a computer, notes and what looked to be a horseshoe, stacked up, had to run off quickly because of some technical glitches with her computer. So she introduced me to the other journo and took off telling the other journo to set me some tasks.
The first job was to finish off a half-finished article about Redcliffe’s miraculous rise in townhouse and unit prices despite the state doing poorly. It was written by some student who had spent last week at the RBH. If it was a hip-hop project, we might call it a “colab”. After filing that one of the journos asked me if I’d seen some notes on my desk about drafted changes the Bill that deals with neighbourhood disputes. The notes were nowhere to be found. “Well, it just so happens,” I started, “that I filed a similar story for Newsbytes.com.au” I told her as I grabbed the mouse from her hand and brought it up on her monitor. “That should give her some ideas,” I thought to myself. To cut a long story short, I was asked to rewrite this story. Hey, we should all do our part to recycle.
After that I was given some Real Estate (sic) copy to write! Yay! Stunning vistas! Convenient living! All the amenities at your fingertips! I looked through the previous week’s paper and had a good laugh at one house with a heading that read, “Grabbing You’re Attention”. It’d certainly grab Desley’s attention. And Anthony’s. I fired off about four of them.
“Finished, next task please!”
“Dave, we’ll get you to do some briefs and straps.” That sounded like it was a breach of the workplace health and safety regulations. But it wasn’t. It just involved going through the community events and writing some copy to introduce the events. The straps were only a couple of pars and were plonked up the top of the newspaper. The briefs were about five pars and ran down the side. I got the hang of that art pretty quickly- kind of like journalism’s answer to fingerpainting.
All this typing was making me hungry. “Can I eat at my desk?” I asked the other journos had had since stumbled in. “Yeah, of course you can,” one started, “my keyboard is full of crumbs. So I ran out to get my lunch.
When I came back I couldn’t get back into the newsroom. I hadn’t been given the secret code. I still haven’t. But fortunately a lady saw me struggling with the door and let me in. “Oh, a man in our newsroom!” She seemed genuinely pleased. It hadn’t occurred to me, but all the other journos were ladies. They were all very friendly and easy to get along with.
“Do you like sport?” one of them asked me. “I can,” seemed like an interesting response for me to try. So I did. I now had a new task. This involved taking a page of ambiguous and jumbled prose about a lawn bowls game and transforming it into three coherent pars.
After wrestling with that task I threw in a few story ideas and they are now being chased up. It’s goingto be a great week even if it isn’t as fast-paced as Stateline. But we will be interviewing Rachel Nolan tomorrow, so that should be fun.
Looking forward to hearing how everyone else is going.
Signing off. DDS.