One of my problems as a journalist, I believe, is being scared of chasing stories and my tendency to be nice and agreeable.
In Quest where I was writing very fluffy feel good stories, I’ve been fortunate to write more news stories at the Chronicle.
This means I’ve had to be persistent with getting answers and asking harder questions.
An example of this is getting comments on negative ideas, such as unemployment in the Fraser Coast. People tend to baulk at wanting to give too much information and putting their name against negative comments.
On Wednesday, I was doing a story that had a positive take on the unemployment issue, but people were still hesitant to give the information.
The story was on a single mum getting a job with the new hogs breath café. It was a good follow up after last week’s article highlighting the area’s unemployment rate of 12.3% – a seven-year high.
(No doubt this is a reason why my car got smashed. $600 by the way for the front and back screen, and I’m just leaving the back passenger window as a “nice” air vent until I find a cheap cover option.)
While being here, I’ve noticed somewhat the need to make stories more colourful and interesting (not completely separate from beating it up perhaps?).
I’ve had a bit of problems with my intros here, that I didn’t have in my previous internship. I do the; who, what, where, when, how usually in a concise 25 word sentence. I know the structure and think I can do it well.
But every time I send my story to the Deputy Editor he tells me to “shine a sunbeam on it”. So I try, with more colourful words, but it just doesn’t seem to work.
Here’s an example. (This is after trying to make my intros more colourful for two weeks.)
1st Edition. Community spirit is awash in the Fraser Coast, as local businesses contribute their time and money and thousands prepare to participate in a Walk for Daniel tomorrow morning.
2nd Edition. A show of solidarity to the plight of child safety will amass in a sea of red tomorrow morning, as locals and business unite in a Walk for Daniel.
Printed (Subbed) Version. A show of solidarity will bring attention to child safety and a sea of red shirts will highlight the issue tomorrow morning as locals and business unite in the Walk for Daniel.
Word Tally – 1. 29 2. 29 3. 32
I actually don’t see much difference in my first intros to what gets printed in other people’s stories. I’m not sure if the dep editor is just trying to make a point to make my writing more interesting.
But moving on. I’ve noticed networking plays a huge part in getting good stories and quotes. The Chief Reporter here is a local and is friends with a lot of people, including police, and it’s helped her make quite a few breakthroughs.
I’ve had a good time in Hervey Bay. I went whale watching and swum at the beach in my spare time. Staying with one of the journalists really made my experience more integrated. I met the other journalists for drinks and dinner, and got to learn more about the culture and the office politics at the paper.
I’m glad I did a regional internship as it has helped to tackle my resistance to moving away for a job. I can see it would be hard, but having that work environment would help the process.