I arrived at Bundaberg Regional Airport at 09.50am on Sunday morning as scheduled. The memo must have not gone out because there was no paparazzi there to greet me. Oh well. Since there is no public transport on weekends I took a taxi into the city.
The taxi driver was as excited about my internship as I was and regaled me with tales that would have sent Pinocchio into cardiac arrest.
She told me she knew the editor of the paper and the local radio station host. Being a dutiful journalist I asked for her number to put in my contact book but I believe she felt I was hitting on her. See I had an eyelash loose in my eye and was trying to blink it out. She must have thought I was winking at her.
I walked into the Newsmail newsroom (say that ten times fast!) early Monday morning and was set up with a desk by the deputy editor (editor was away). The newsroom was reasonably spacious and shared with the marketing department.
There must be around 25-35 people in the newsroom, including the marketing team, so that may give you some idea of the size.
I was called into the news conference and formally introduced to the editorial team. They seemed a jovial bunch. Funny, intelligent and politically incorrect. My type of people.
Over the week I have been assigned stories and submitted my own ideas. I have been published each day which has been a thrill each time and never gets old.
I have found the locals to be reasonably co-operative. Casually mentioning I’m a journalist can have two different effects. They will either open up and tell me all about their grievances or tell me to go have sexual intercourse with a leper.
I’ve had to get used to the fact I was with the only daily paper in the city.
My first story was to cover a talk by the local Federal MP Paul Neville and the Shadow Minister for Ageing on aged care facilities. At the end of the speech I was preparing to have to jostle my way through and hope to get a question answered.
Instead to my surprise the PR lady approached me, said “you must be the new guy at the Newsmail would you like to speak to both of them now?” “Sure”, I replied. “That would be great.”
What was going on? Was I on an episode of the Twilight Zone?
I’ve headed out on jobs with the photographers, Mike and Max who are fun. We discussed lenses, equipment, video editing and share jokes that would make a sailor blush.
I have used a combination of my Olympus TP7, Olympus digital recorder and my teeline to obtain accurate quotes.
I chat with the sports guys about renaissance art…..NOT. That was a not joke. Obviously we discuss sports.
Newsmail editor, Christina Ongley has been great and edited some of my stories in front of me giving me good feedback. She gave some practical advice on writing and said the rules were more like guidelines. Know them. Learn them. Then know when to break them.
On Wednesday morning I sat in on a meeting between the staff and the head honchos of APN going over the future of the organisation.
I swore an oath on my first born to not reveal the contents of that meeting. However one of them stated prophetically, like God to Moses, that newspapers were in a evolving phase and the old pyramid style of writing was on the way out. I could have sworn he was looking directly at me when he said it. I restrained myself and simply nodded.
The team here have been helpful and very welcoming. It has been a fun but challenging experience so far.
I look forward to the second week.