Day Three at The Daily Telegraph

Day Three of my internship began slowly. I had nothing to work on and no ideas about what to write. All of a sudden I was emailed three press releases from NSW Police. The third story was the best to work on as there was CCTV of the crime – an armed hold up that police were appealing for information about.

Once again I learned that writing from media releases alone is hard. There are usually no quotes to include and more digging is always needed. Chief of Staff Ben McClellan emailed me audio of a press conference police had held which gave me some great quotes and writing from the CCTV footage also added colour to the story.

Ch 7, 9 and 10 all ran with the story that night with Ch 7 leading with it. The big lesson of Day Three was to be careful with the information you are given and pay attention to detail. The story was a bit awkward to write as one of the men who had been arrested was from a suburb in Sydney’s west. He was arrested however in the state’s (NSW) Central West.

This led some TV stations to incorrectly report on the story saying there were three people involved in the crime when really there was only two. After seeing the first report I was very nervous believing I’d made a mistake. I read over all the media releases and watched the CCTV footage I was given looking for something I may have missed. After doing this and not finding something I may have missed I relaxed a bit but still was confused as to how a network had gotten it wrong.

I watched the report on two other stations and their stories were more in line with mine – two alleged criminals not three. At this point I was impressed that I had gone through all the information given and reported the story correctly but still took away a big lesson about being careful with these matters.

Ben also gave me a lesson about the use of language in crime stories. I used the word suspect which Ben said gave a hint of guilt even though I hadn’t meant to. Being impartial is so important when writing any story, but especially ones where someone is accused of a crime.

My report on the armed robbery ran online and in print.