Melbourne’s famous fast changing weather was on display over the last two days. Yesterday we were treated to a northerly wind that brought dry warm air from one of the biggest, hottest, driest places on earth–the Australian outback. Overnight the freezing winds from the southern ocean (one of the coldest, windiest places on the planet) won the battle to engulf Melbourne in a chilling south westerly wind with rain to boot. The southern ocean wind can even arrive in the middle of summer.
I am invited to the editor’s meetings every day which is great. It is fascinating to see all the different editors go over stories that will fill tomorrow’s newspaper.
The editor often chairs these meetings with a calm but searching manner where he does not shirk from calling whats on offer as “weak” if he thinks so.
There is a 10am meeting to look at what’s happening, planning and then a 3pm meeting to get an update on the various stories, talk about any new ones and determine photos, pages.
The editor of The Age goes around the conference table from editor to editor. This is sometimes a bit of a stressful time for them. It’s a 50:50 mix of women and men at department editor level but the top three execs are all men in shirts and ties. The most common dress for men is a shirt and jeans. I am over dressed with a shirt, suit pants and tie. Everyone seems to wear smart casual. The older middle-age men still wear a tie. It seems people are free to wear almost anything as long as they are good at what they do.
The standard of writing seems to be very high – it’s hard to get published. The Age publishes about 110 stories a day and there are about 250 journalists.
National affairs editor is a quietly spoken Irishman. He is on top of what’s happening in Canberra.
Then there is the state affairs editor whom I am working for. The state desk is a big job which includes courts, police, parts of sport related stories, state politics, local gov etc…social trends, anything in Victoria.
Then there is international, arts, sport(mostly AFL) rugby world cup has not got a mention so far.
There is also a Pictures editor and an online editor.
They all report what is happening – what stories are breaking overnight, what their reporters are working on or are currently chasing.
The editor listens and sets some priorities if he feels the need.
Then all the reporters must email their editor with a breif description of their story by 2.15. A list is typed up for the 3pm meeting. Each editor then presents their list of stories in order of priority.
It is from this list page one is decided, page 2 etc…….priorities change right up until the 7pm deadline.
They have a night editor too.