I’ll start this rambling post by saying that I’ve really been enjoying reading other Jscholar’s entries. And I really enjoyed reading the Newsbytes story by a certain Mr Stilianos today.

I last posted after my first enjoyable day at RBH.

Tuesday morning I arrived after a quick pit stop at a chain coffee shop with faux African décor. I wanted a large coffee to help me through the day. After a series of journalistic questioning it seemed apparent that the large-sized coffee had the same amount of coffee in it as a small coffee- it just had more hot milk in it. The larger the coffee, the weaker it became. Hmm, interesting logic. So I paid extra for an extra shot to maintain the optimal coffee:milk ratio. Are we really evolving?

But I digress!

I came into the office with my jumbo sized wallet-breaking coffee to find a sheet resting on my desk. It was the reply from a local camera club president about a member who had recently taken out a Silver Medallion for his photograph of a humming bird snapping at a unsuspecting bee. I wrote that article up pretty quickly and included a plug for the camera club.

Then I chased down (on the phone) a veteran junior swim coach who has coached numerous Olympic and Commonwealth greats. He swims a few kilometres in the ocean every morning as the sun beams across the horizon. I wrote the skeleton and a bit of flesh on this gentleman, but it still requires a little more work.

Next I was given some PR clutter to spin into journalistic copy. Easy. “Next task please!”

One of the other journalists had an appointment with the State Transport Minister. I was invited along for the ride. The basic story was that a $3.8 m bus stop had been approved in North Lakes. The Translink people turned up with their shiny shovel. Local MP Dean Wells was there in his suit. A photograph was taken with the two politicians- one with the shovel and the other with the first draft plans rolled up securely under an arm. If you have a chance to see the photograph, you’ll notice the lighting from the left hand side is particularly awe-inspiring. Yes, the photographer asked me to hold a flash.

Back in the journo-mobile and I was given a pile of Media Releases to spin into “briefs”. It’s like a spring roll. Lots of useless bits and pieces all rolled together into a presentable package. But I have now established myself as a rather efficient spring roll chef.

The editor congratulated everyone. Deadline has passed without incident. We were all given early marks.

WED 9am

I arrived at work with a coffee from local one-of-a-kind coffee shop that was bitter from over-extraction. At least I didn’t have to pay for the extra heat that was used.

It was a quiet morning as the heavy rain kept us inside- we were supposed to be doing VOX POPS! I don’t mind the street polls. The rain persisted and the cameraman put on a weatherproof jacket and we headed to Redcliffe Parade to ask the people if they believed enough was being done to stop hooning. This street poll will compliment an article done by fearless former RBH journalist Crystal Davies. One gentleman told me that he was on the side of the hoons before waddling off into the distance in his faded tracksuit pants. AV, the senior journalist who was accompanying me, later told me that I needn’t bother asking people if they wished to be involved because they’d ignore me if the answer was no. Sage advice.

Next: back to the office to put the names and comments in electronic form and then into the CyberNews system.

Then it was time for the news meeting where we sat around the table discussing possible stories- much like the JSchool ones, but much quicker. Another interesting point is that males and females of the human species are not referred to as dudes and chicks but men and women, respectively. The editor asked me if I had been overseas recently. “I went to the Philippines earlier this year,” I told her. “Well, can you write a travel piece?” “Sure can”.

I was given some more PR stories to spin including some school newsletters. And then I started on my travel piece.

The news database on the computers goes back many years and is pretty amazing. I found an interesting set of letters to the editor. They were about 15 years old and followed a series of events in the local community where the crows were getting a bad wrap. Some residents didn’t understand why they had to put up with the native birds’ incessant harking. Why were the bloody things protected? This is where my father came in. He recounted this demonising of the crows to a friend, “S.J. Wilson” who was visiting from Sydney. S.J. was notorious for taking the piss and had made himself a reputation for, among other things, getting himself in trouble for taking knitting needles to an international cricket match. So, in his tradition, he penned a sarcastic letter to the editor at the Redcliffe & Bayside Herald that read like this:

Get rid of the gecko

AS a regular visitor to your beautiful shores I am disturbed to note
the relentless onslaught of geckoes.
These unsightly, noisy, quarrelsome creatures have infiltrated your
I must cut my holidays short. It is one thing to suffer the
troublesome bleatings of crows at day.
It is quite another to be subjected to the narcotic shrieking of these
creatures by night.
Will the council initiate an eradication program? Does the Peninsula
want tourists or geckoes?

S J Wilson, Glebe, NSW.

Ah, my father was amused to see it in the paper the following week. But not all readers were amused:

Keep geckos

GET rid of the gecko? What then, S J Wilson (Jan 22)?
Shall we round-up all creatures which don’t fit in with our
pleasure-seeking pursuits? Should we start a mass eradication program
of all our native wildlife because they make a noise or displease us
in some way?
Where shall we start? Geckos, frilly lizards and goannas aren’t much
use, they only eat insects. Koalas, wallabies and kangaroos don’t do a
thing for some people.
How about those raucous parrots and birds which wake us early in the
morning. Noisy little blighters. I love them!
Get real, S J Wilson! Give me our native wildlife any time. Take us as
you find us or don’t take us at all. Stay home with your funnel web
spiders found in almost every backyard, as was the case when I lived
at Glebe Point many years ago.
Leave our geckos alone. We love the little monsters.

D Shaw, Clontarf.

It was not long until my father decided to chip in:

Wild solutions

A solution to the Peninsula’s wildlife problem: a crow bar and a gecko blaster.

Brendan Stuart, Margate.