Posts Tagged ‘university

03
Dec
09

Multimedia reporting 2, assignment 3

Writing and reporting for live news websites

As time goes on I have started to view working in journalism as comprising of three distinct phases the first the ‘roving reporter’ stage which is probably what the vast majority of people conjure up in their minds when someone says they are a journalist. This part takes the longest and involves chasing interviewees and getting your hands on press releases. It is worth note that since the introduction of the internet it has become much easier to replace roving with browsing however. The second is the ‘production line’ stage which is when all the work the reporter has done comes together to become part of a product processed and finally produced by the churning machine that is the office workplace.. The last part is the ‘relax and feel proud’ stage. This final stage lasts about 5 minutes and is mostly taken up by exhaling and the relaxing of the reporters’ shoulders which have been hovering just below their ears.
All joking aside however after producing work for and working as part of a team on the live rolling news days, that are part of the multimedia reporting 2 course, my original idea of what it would be like to work as a reporter for a news website has become much clearer to me as we have used the class to develop our journalistic working skills, such as good writing and interview practice, and the three step process idea that I have developed has shown me what would be expected of me. Developing stories from an initial idea seems to be ruled principally by luck which can please and infuriate you in equal measure. When we first told we had to have a few stories ready for each week I set about and managed to have quite a good measure of success with an initial story and then a follow up. Things fell nicely into place almost by themselves. I was to become aware how initially lucky I had been in the weeks that followed when attempting to produce my next stories. With a list of four or five ideas I set about working the same way as I had on my previous stories and after phoning and e-mailing around for a whole afternoon I was left sitting with absolutely nothing other than the basic information I had originally drawn my ideas from. I ended up phoning around friends and came into class with what I felt was quite a very weak piece. What can I draw from this? Well, without getting to deeply into aphorisms, I have come to the conclusion that things either go your way or they do not and that is something, that as a journalist, comes with the territory. It is up to you to decide when to stop hunting one story and when to proceed to the next. Also a well stocked contacts book can be a life saver.
Doing the job of a reporter it is also noteworthy that as time passes the number people involved in your job increases. We write and work in expanding pyramids of information and people. A journalist begins solitarily gathering ideas and as time passes so the number of people expands to first including interviewees and any other contacts in the gathering stage until you are brought to the office where you are in a room filled with other journalists and the editor all working cumulatively to release the end product whether that is a website or a newspaper. The office stage is interesting as it is not unlike a factory where everyone works, talks and jokes while under constant the scrutiny of the boss; the editor, whose main job seems to be marching round treading the thin line between being helpful and autocratic, a problem I never had to experience as I did not play this role. There is a healthy sense of competition in the office environment that I found useful and enjoyable. No one wants to present the weakest material and no one wants to be the last to finish writing up their story. However working in such a rapid way can have consequences to the product as I found out when the editor, the course leader and I all failed to notice the title of my article was misspelt and it was posted on the site. Although having an article about an ‘airpot’ is amusing in class this could result in a great deal of trouble in a real workplace. I have thought to myself that this office environment must be missed by writers of any other kind as it brings you into close and friendly contact with a group of people doing the same job as you and experiencing and dealing with the same problems which results in a sort of ‘production line’ humour and friendliness. It also usually leads to the obligatory after-work pint.

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