Where’s the dividing line between journalism, PR (for other companies), and advertising? Property.

There are about five editorial pages in the Quest *property liftouts. I’ve been working on suburb profiles (census and RP data) including top, median and cheapest price houses/units; new listings (we include two in each edition).

Quest’s property team has reduced, by natural attrition, from four to two. They are reliant on interns and a casual reporter (two days/week) – a new grad who works in admin on the other days. As a merger with CM property is pending (and other org changes), they’re unable to employ replacements at present.

There are about 17 papers to feed so the day passes in repetition: search data sheets, copy, paste; phone agents, copy, paste. I get a side-serving of house envy!

If they had a team of seasoned reporters, they’d each have a portfolio of titles to look after, hence, variety of tasks and stories. With my (ex-)manager’s hat on, I appreciate the sensible approach of handing the grunt work (all papers) to the interns. With my intern’s hat on: alas!

For enjoyment, I am working on turning two housing estate press releases into stories. Alas, progress is painfully slow whilst I wait for PR callbacks. (Yes, I’m phoning for updates and progress reports. It would be faster if I could drive there and do the interviews in person. Alas, that’s a time luxury Quest property can’t afford.)

* Quest property is now Quest realestate (sic; no space) to align with branding: realestate.com.au

Interview with Quest property editor, Teela Jurgensen, on 21 September, 2012.

Sidebar: I travelled to Ipswich earlier in the week to obtain QT papers – in case my extra stories made it into print. Alas, no. However, a story I’d almost pitched had a page unto itself. The story was perfect for QT’s regional coverage and had intrinsic ‘unusual’ news value, but it had received coverage elsewhere the week before I interned.

Moral: (1) Trust my news sense. (2) Pitch the story!