YAAAYY!!! Dudes and chicks, Hanna Golingi will finally blog about her internship experiences so far at good old Ipswich News.

I, unlike a certain Mr Gough, knew that we were supposed to be doing this regularly during our internship week, but unfortunately I have not been able to find my WordPress username and password til tonight. My silence has not been intentional!

My first day at Ipswich News was really, really enjoyable. I was probably more relieved that anything, so much so that on my way home I was almost giddy. I knew this would happen. Typically, I had psyched myself out on the weekend leading up to Monday, thinking of all the bad things that could happen, the embarrassing mistakes I would make, the mean and intimidating people I would encounter on my first day at the Quest internship…

Of course when Monday rolled around and I actually had to get out of bed at 6.30am, to make my way to ‘god-damned’ Ipswich (as I have heard it called), all I could do to calm my nerves was to be sensible with my overactive imagination – now that I had thought of all worst case scenarios, I knew that probability wise, not ALL of those things would happen. That was comforting.

So you can imagine how encouraging it was when I finished up on Monday feeling like I had contributed and got along with those in the newsroom.

Now, Ipswich News is a tiny place, and there were hardly any people there this week. Alena the editor had just come back on her holidays, Brent the sports reported was on holiday by Wednesday, and the other advertising people and the photographer were in and out all week. So really it was only journalist Shannon (who looked after me all week), Alena, me, and the receptionist that held the fort. I am glad to say that Shannon, Alena and I built up a great rapport over this week, being in such a tiny office and working together a lot. Brent I actually found weirdly unfriendly. I had a proper conversation with him ONCE. And then he was gone. Maybe he’s going crazy being the only male in the office.

I got to go to three jobs straight up on Monday, two with Shannon and another with Brent. Peter the photographer, who is quite a creative and a nice guy, came with us to all the jobs. None of the stories were particularly interesting – I founds myself in the Ipswich hospital, then a primary school, and then in some guy’s driveway talking about his schmick car. I’m not into cars so… Actually the best outing that day would have to be to the primary school because in order to get the best shot Peter got the choir girls (who we were doing a story on) to sing, and so we were treated to an impromptu performance of a jazzed up ‘Three Blind Mice’. It was great!

I did a heap of stories and just emailed them to Shannon so she could see if she could use any. I did some briefs as well (David you took all the good ones!!) and pitched some ideas to Alena. Alena and Shannon apologised beforehand for what they said would be a boring first 2 days for me. They said the deadline for this weeks paper was Tuesday evening, so they were flat out finishing the stories for that, and most of it was just getting photos for stories already in, and working on layout etc…

They were right, Tuesday was really really boring with no outings. No-one went anywhere, they were just absorbed in their computer screens. Alena seemed stressed, and Shannon was just really quiet. I just did my own thing and worked on heaps of stories that I thought could make next weeks paper. Found some pretty interesting stuff so i just got really into that and emailed another bunch of stories to Shannon and Alena. Alena was really apologetic again at the end of the day for ‘leaving me alone’ – in fact she kept telling me I could go home early, ‘don’t feel you have to stay until i leave!’. I actually stayed later because i was so absorbed in what i was doing. Shannon and Alena gave me a bit of feedback, saying the briefs i did were good, i’m showing lots of initiative chasing my own stories without any help from anyone, etc.. sheepishly Alena said she’d only just skimmed over my stuff, but she would give me some proper feedback on Wednesday. The she asked if I wanted to come in early on Wednesday to go do a couple of interviews with her, so of course I said hell yeah.

Wednesday was great although had some dissapointments- Alena gave me more informal feedback on the road and said she’s impressed with the initiative I’ve shown, and asked lots of questions about Jschool. The jobs we did were fun, and I even got to help with Peter’s photography. I even made a good contact for the bike business with a sports trainer guy from Toowong. Most importantly, she said the stories I’d pitched would make great photo stories, and told me to go ahead and interview whoever I wanted and put a time in the diary for Peter. I phoned some sources and got a lot more comfortable doing interviews on the phone, which was good for my confidence. By the end of the day I had booked Peter and I to go out for a job (on the story that i found and wrote) the next day at 10am, which I was looking forward to because I could see the photos done, and get quotes from other people at the scene. Alena must have felt by then that i was responsible enough to pass on proper jobs to, as she asked me if she could send me off with a photographer to do a story and interview she had already lined up for the next say as well, so she could take care of some office stuff. Heeelll yeah.

Then came the dissapointment! 🙁 Just as i was about to leave, all excited about the next day, Alena got a call saying that her and Shannon had to go to Stafford for some stupid training thing. So they wouldnt even be coming to the office in the morning. Alena argued with the person on the phone for a while about how necessary it was for both Shannon and her to go, because that meant the office would be empty. The advertising people aren’t in much, they are half-based in Milton. If Alena and Shannon had to go, only the receptionist and Peter would be in. And they weren’t allowed to ‘supervise’ me. I was devastated! But I already booked a time in for an interview at 10! I said. But Alena and Shannon had to go (damn you Stafford!), and so the photographer would have to go it alone and i’d have to do a phone interview. I consoled myself on the way home thinking at least I get to sleep in – I was told to come in at 1pm.

So today i strolled in at 1pm. As expected Shannon and Alena weren’t back from Stafford yet. Peter showed me the photos and said he couldn’t see why I couldn’t just go on the job with him. The receptionist, Peter, and I watched Gillard being sworn in while eating Subway.

Shannon and Alena came back around 2. Alena had a look at my completed story and said it was great. I went on 2 jobs with Shannon. We got lost on the first, and then once there could not leave for aaaaaaagggeesss because this guy just rambled on and on. His orphaned pets were cute though (the story was about RSPCA volunteering), and we left finally, with dog hair all over our clothes, and went straight to the Art gallery. I was totally fired up for this one – I met 3 artists who were putting on an exhibition in aid of the hospice, and asked them heaps of questions and took lots of notes, and i was invited to the opening for wine and cheese 🙂 Shannon cottoned on straight away that this was my sort of thing, and on the drive back to the office she said i could write it if i want.

I’m actually sad that tomorrow will be my last day there, I feel like there’s heaps more I want to write. I’ll do a more reflective and less diary-style blog after friday. Just quickly i’ve found the Ipswich News is very community oriented and i suppose not much happens there so a lot of the stories are ‘nice little profiles’ about people and community events. I wrote a more critical-style piece about the Flying Start consultation responses, but I don’t think they were too hot on it. I’ll squeeze out some fort of feedback from the girls on it though. I don’t think I’d mind working for a small community newspaper actually.

Stay tuned.