As my internship progressed, I figured out that going in on the weekends was a better bet for me in terms of having lots of tasks to do. The executive producer on the weekend had a lot more time to assign me things to do and I didn’t have to feel so much like I was interuppting her frantic newswriting every time I needed to discuss my next task. Also, there were fewer journos on and I’d been the only intern in on the weekends, so it meant more work for me.
During my weekend shifts, I covered everything from the Vietnam Veteran’s march and memorial service to the public service union launching a half-million dollar campaign against Newman and his government over the proposed 20,000 job cuts. I had the opportunity to go out with some great reporters and then to go out and do some stories on my own also which was nice. Heading out to pressers just me and a camera meant I had to re-learn to use my microphone-holding muscles. Believe it or not, holding a mic in front of a politician’s face while they answer questions for up to a half hour is pretty good for your arm endurance and, the next day, leaves you wondering why your arm is burning when you lift the frying pan or reach for your laptop. Arm muscles aside though, I went to police pressers, political pressers, conferences organized by local groups with concerns about government polities and events where ministers spoke about new programs and the like.
When I wasn’t out chasing more interesting stories, I was in the newsroom making calls to police and fire/ambo services, following up on emails and digging through a pile of media releases trying to find news among the many non-newsworthy things that came through every day. Only down-side of the weekend shifts was that sometimes you had to take something that maybe wouldn’t have really been news on a good news day and try to make it into something useable. Of course, the newscast must go on even if there isn’t a wide range of exciting conflict happening. But fluff stories aside, the weekends were filled with conducting phone interviews, attending pressers, editing audio, writing stories and occasionally being stolen by the TV crew to head to one event or another when they didn’t have a reporter available to go. Having a variety of tasks definitely made for a more exciting learning experience!