With my news internship with the ABC drawing to a close last Friday, I’ve had a few days to reflect on my experiences, and the year as a whole.
Admittedly, at the end of last week, my head was starting to swim with doubts. Not because of the week I had with the ABC, it was a great experience for many reasons. It was a week of ‘firsts’ – my first police presser, my first voicer, first free lunch as a journalist, first stop-work strike (independent schools) and first QLD Unions rally.
There are personal stories to go along with each of those experiences which make them even more unforgettable for me.
I had to laugh when I heard the Catholic Schools stop-work meeting was going to be held at ‘The Wallaby’ – a pub in Mudgeeraba, a large town at the bottom of Springbrook which was voted Queensland’s Friendliest Town in 2009. These facts in themselves are not that interesting, but this sentence may put things into context.
While considering where to take your special date for the evening, you may overhear a member of the Finks MC say to a fellow Finks bikie, “Wanna go to the Wal at Mudgy and check out the bikini barmaids?” at which point you would decide to stay clear of this particular venue. I’m not sure where you’re hanging out in the first place if you’re overhearing Finks convos but as a journalist I’m sure you have every right to be there.
I had to break it to David Lewis while we were driving to the Wal that it wasn’t ‘a lovely place’ as someone had told him. Imagine my surprise when I found out the stop-work meeting was in the ‘Restaurant’ section of the Wallaby. For one thing, I didn’t even know it existed, and for another, it was actually a pretty nice venue if you wanted to have a hearty pub lunch. So maybe you could take a date there after all – but then again, you probably wouldn’t.
It was also great to meet the other journalists and camera crew from local media throughout the week – I met most of them at the teacher’s strike and spoke to them again the following day at the police presser and the union rally. There was a sort of camaraderie which I really enjoyed, and was surprised by as well. Seeing who else turns up at an event is also a good indicator to see what other news is happening in the area!
On Friday morning I went to a Committal Hearing at Southport Magistrates Court (thank you David Anderson for preparing us for court – I would have freaked out big time otherwise!). David Lewis and I were the only media present, which made David nervous. Considering the case we were reporting on had received a lot of coverage from local media, it was interesting to see no one had turned up to hear the outcome. Read David’s story here! http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-14/pair-to-stand-trial-over-gold-coast-murder/4261690?§ion=news
When we left the hearing, we spotted the Channel Nine camera crew van, and for a moment considered sticking around to see what they were potentially covering, but alas, the parking meter was just about up!
It was a full week, and I loved every minute, so why those niggling clouds of doubt at the back of my mind?
Well I’d come to a fork in the road and I didn’t know which direction to take. For the last couple of months I’ve been considering returning to uni to complete a degree with a double major of Journalism/Communications and English Literature/Creative Writing. There’s a few writing and radio projects I’d like to explore as well, and opportunities to travel overseas and around Australia.
In the other direction is applying for a cadetship with the ABC or a newspaper. Yes, it’s incredibly tough to get a cadetship, but this year has been full of surprises and it was, originally, the end-goal for me. But it’s not the complete picture for me anymore, and I think that’s what I’ve been grappling with. To have wanted something for so long, to then realise it’s not exactly what you want, is a confusing state to be in!
I think I’d created a block in my head that said if I didn’t get a cadetship, no one would take me seriously as a journalist or a writer. And then I realised, the only person who I need to convince is myself.
So I’m going to return to uni next year and see where that path takes me. Besides, no one said you can’t return to that fork in the road and choose the other path if you need to, did they? And if they did, I’m not listening!