An Idiots Guide:Part 2
My inability to do nothing has been a problem throughout my life, the biggest symptom being boredom. Luckily for me, there is almost always something to do in a newsroom with an editor, a journalist and a sports journalist who is there twice a week. On my first day I was taken from one job to the next with both the editor and the senior journalist.
The first job I went to was basically a media release in words, but it made me realise that people talk really fast. Too fast for long hand, that’s for sure. In fact with her barely legible chicken scratch, the senior journalist was envious, and although I had the help of a voice recording when I wrote the article, I could definitely not have done it without my tee line to reference too.
Internship lesson #3 Shorthand is vital and it is irreplaceable.
Writing an article about an environmentally friendly waste disposal unit can be a little tedious, and as you can imagine my intro downright sucked, which is when my senior journalist gave me the best intro advice I’ll ever hear.
Internship lesson #4 the introduction is the first thing that comes out of your mouth when you go up to a friend and say hey, guess what …
Over the course of my internship I went out on a range of different interviews and protests. I realised that while some people can spit out quote after quote, others are more prone to giving one word answers and the best thing to do if you want answers is to let people talk about themselves.
Internship lesson #5 Learn to listen, people like to talk about themselves, and will always appreciate it when you want to hear what they have to say and in turn they are more likely to tell you something you can make a story out of.
When it comes to a community newspaper, people want to feel like you are a part of the community. People are more likely to tell you their life story if they feel it will have some sort of an impact on you, you as a member of the community.
Internship lesson #6 Become a part of your community, community members like to feel connected to the paper, the journalist and the subject of the article.
Over my internship I got to see the makings of a newspaper, from the start of a news cycle to the end. I would go out on a job, come back and write the article and send it off to the editor, and then the editor would sit down and show me how he would edit and submit the article. When the approved page layout came through my editor would show me where everything would be placed and the programs that allowed them to end up there, from the front page article to the event top-decks on each page. While everyone in the newsroom would give ideas and feedback, the editor would make the final decisions on the content of the newspaper.
Internship lesson #7 editors and subeditors deserve the respect they were once given, they hold in their hands the integrity and the reputation of the paper.
My editor also opened my eyes a little to the things that have been happening right under my nose. When I first started at JSchool I was stuck on the idea on covering political crime; to me this would be everywhere other than Australia. Little did I know that Australia is home to its own political money hoarding; the facts are all in front of us, but the proof is nowhere to be found?
Internship lesson #8 Journalism is sometimes impertinent, it is often revealing, and it is always going to be indispensable.
One of the best things about the newsroom that I was working in was that like the readers, the newsroom too was like a community of its own. I think this is one of the main reasons I valued my time at the Ipswich News so highly. I had walked in there under the impression that I was in for a week of monotony, but instead I was thrown right in, and given a little taste of everything to do with the editorial side of the newsroom. I went in there thinking that I would come out one week later and never want to step inside another newsroom in my life, but instead I didn’t even want to say goodbye to the one I had been a part of over the week.
Internship lesson #9 Don’t be afraid to change your plans.
In two weeks time the editor of the Ipswich times will be leaving. This will present many upcoming changes to the Ipswich newsroom, and possibly a job opportunity. While I feel as though I may not be entirely qualified, I can’t think of anywhere I would rather be, so why not give it a try, what have I got to lose?
Internship lesson #10 Take a risk, it may present the doorway to the rest of your life.