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A nineteen year old with a camera in rural Norfolk. http://rosajoy.com

Friday, 28 August 2009

Hold the front page!

[SMCOM:] Rosa (17, Norfolk) is ridiculously excited at becoming a bone fida, published journalist.

So back in June, College hosted a so-called Career's Day. These sorts of things are always dire, as you probably know. So it wasn't really any wonder that I was sitting at the back of the room texting K when the editor of our local paper began handing round that week's copy.

Journalism is on my list of "Possible Actual Careers". (This list differs immensely from my other list, entitled: "Possible Careers".) I have no idea - as, I think, I have a right not to at only 17 - of what I want to persue as a job. But saying you want to "go into journalism" is like saying you want to "go into property". Building? Surveying? Investing? Therefore, it suits me well.
Creative? Kinda...
English-based? Sort of...
Money? Um...
Yes, it ticks lots of boxes.

Even so, I wasn't expecting much from Editor C's lecture. I was far more interested in hearing about K's eventful bus journey than a talk on local press and services to the community. It wasn't until I heard the words "work experience" that my ears pricked up.

The Eastern Daily Press are notoriously difficult to get a placement with. To get work experience you generally need a degree and a nice reference before you are even considered. So, Editor C's lecture on the importance of prior experience seemed to me a little unfair. Equally, I'd blatantly been sitting at the back and texting on my phone while he'd been speaking, so when the offer came ("We may possibly have an opening for a placement during the summer, if anyone is looking for experience...") I felt a bit sorry for myself.
Apologies K, I thought, I've got an impromptu interview to initiate.

The long and short of it is that I voiced my concerns that the EDP didn't always report "responsibly", to which Editor C called my bluff, and I reached into my (metaphorical) hat and pulled out a handful of cases where I'd been less-than-impressed. "Of course," I said, "It's not normally the individual reporter's fault. I'd imagine it's the head office who demand certain spins. Most journalists want to report fairly and service the public to the best of their ability. Especially for small regional papers, where trust is so important." Insert smile here.
I got the gig.

The past three days have been immense. I will never ever ever insult local press again. I expected to be making tea and running papers between offices all week, reminding myself it's all good on the CV, but what I got was so much more. In the past three days I've researched backgrounds for breaking stories, answered phones, travelled out in the field, interviewed kids, proof-read articles, and come this close to conducting a phone interview - before I bottled it. And better than that, I've been published.

Ok, ok. So they're only press releases. Perhaps 10cm-worth of story space in the Daily. But still. I was sent them, I wrote them up, and attached all the notes and subcodes and adhered to all the EDP 'style rules', and now four of them have been printed.
"You should cut them out and keep them," Dom said today as we sat in his car waiting for the photographer to show for a piece on local vandals.
I tried to play it cool. "Yeah... My little claim to fame."
"Nooo," Dom replied, "People come here for weeks and don't get anything printed!"
To which I squeaked, and ruined my façade.
It's all down to luck, of course. Today's edition must have been quiet. But still.

Here they are.

Now don't tell me that isn't cool. It is cool.

I must have done something right. Editor C (who managed to warm to me during the week, once I'd put the phone away, stopped insulting his paper, and bought everyone doughnuts) wants me back for the Christmas rush.



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