A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to intern at the Gold Coast Bulletin. It was a tough two weeks as I still had to work, so I was busy for 6 days of the week!
However, I absolutely loved the experience and it made me realise that I could be a journalist, that I could make a difference. It wouldn’t be easy, but I could certainly write stories that could inform, amuse, or provoke thought within the community. That was important.
On the first day of my internship, a Tuesday, I was there at 8:15am. I met up with the court reporter, and off we went to Southport Magistrates Court. We checked out the court lists, and highlighted the names and crimes that seemed interesting or of importance. Interestingly, the reporters from different organisations helped each other out finding the right stories to chase (although I expect angles weren’t shared!). I was sent off to a number of different courtrooms to listen out for names or interesting stories. A lot of communication was through text messaging, which was very interesting, and filing was done on the go for the internet. Generally, two-three stories were needed from the court reporter each day; I thought that was a lot, but was later informed that was the norm for most rounds!
On day two I was assigned to the educational section of the newspaper, called Inspire, which meant researching stories about school aged children. I looked up a lot of student newsletters on the internet, decided on a handful to chase and set about calling lots of people. The task certainly helped with my telephobia! By the end of the day, I had written 3 stories of about 250 words each, about upcoming school events, as well as a ‘top ten’ which was placed to run the following Tuesday.
On day three I went to council with two other reporters as some big developments were set to be talked about. I found this round less interesting, but was advised that the day was different to most days in council. (I’m not sure whether this meant it would be more interesting!) When we came back to the office, I called another school to finish a story, and was told to add a par to a story I’d previously written, then it would run next week. I then worked on a school holiday spread for Inspire again, researching the best things to do on the Coast.
On my last day in the first week, I went to court again in the morning. It was a bit slow, so I took notes for a couple of cases, sent them through via email to the court reporter and headed back to the office. A story I’d written was being placed in the educational spread next week, but they needed a photo so I had to call the school to arrange one, which was thankfully sent through in time. I wrote another story, sat in on a news conference and then headed back to court where the matter we’d been interested in was adjudicated. We waited outside of the courthouse for an interview, but no one would talk to the media. Back in the office, I followed up a lead before packing it in for the day.
What I realised about journalism in that first week was that it was not a 9-5 job. It did seem to be a rewarding job however, because you would interview someone, or a few people and then write the story, which would then run in the paper for all to read.