A few weeks before the last elections I went to a local protest rally endorsed by GetUp. I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to get a story for Newsbytes.

I arrived early about 7.30 am. There were a handful of people already starting to roll in mainly older people wearing hospital gear in their mid to late 50’s. They all had placards ready to protest.

I noticed that there was another journalist there taking photos. Cool, I thought, so I’ll watch and take note of the angles and what he does.

As the morning progressed, a few more people arrived as well as two police cars. It was encouraging to see them there at the protest.  Not that they were needed, but it was a nice to know they were close by.

All was going well, the protestors chanted their little slogan and raised their placards. The odd car passed by honking their horns encouraging those there with their support.

Going back to the other journalist, I learnt a lot from him. Mainly what NOT to do.

I couldn’t believe he asked one of the Getup team to drive by and beep their horn several times so he could it get it recorded as he was filming. That was just the beginning of the questionable stunts this journalist asked the group to stage.

Next, was a more active protest, a role play outside the Federal ministers in questions building. That wasn’t so bad but when they started using a huge cutout of the Minister’s head that’s when it went down hill from there.

It made me think later on was this just a media stunt for a paper? As most of their time was with the journalist, they spent about five to ten minutes of actual protesting by the sidewalk as cars drove.

For me, reporting has, to be honest, and this protest was more a group of people being props for a journalist rather than protesting.