The last few days of internship with WIN

My internship with WIN News for JN3300 Industry Internship is now done and dusted and I can easily say I enjoyed my time there. My last week with WIN for the subject was the week before Christmas; unfortunately it wasn’t as busy as normal weeks but I still got to do quite a few stories.

I ended up doing 97 hours of internship with WIN and my internship with Zoom In Business came to about 12-15 hours. I’m doing to start putting together my portfolio now and hopefully my supervisor’s reports will be done soon enough and I can submit everything.

I’m also hoping I can do more work experience at WIN in the future. Despite initially thinking I didn’t want to do broadcast journalism, my mind has definitely been changed for the better. Broadcast is quite fun and exciting, the day goes quickly and there’s always something different happening. I have another year left in my degree (double degrees are 4 years instead of 3), so hopefully I’ll have plenty more time to get experience so I’ve got a good chance of getting a job when I graduate. Fingers crossed!

WIN Internship Day #11 and #12

I’ve now done roughly 84 hours of internship at WIN News or 12 days of internship. While, the amount I’ve learnt during my internship does seem about right in hours, when you translate it into days I feel like I’ve been there a lot longer—especially when you consider I’ve only been interning at WIN for less than 2 months.

This week was both a success and a bit of a failure on my behalf. On Monday I started out by writing a VSV about the Townsville and District Motorcycle Association Toy Run as part of the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal that had happened over the weekend. Just before I’d finished I went out with Andy, the Bureau Chief, and watched him interview Cr Dale Last and then watched him do a stand-up. From what I observed, you write one or two sentences, memorize them and then do a few takes in front of the camera and a related scene in order to get lighting, sound and your take right. The next story I was tasked with is where I made a very embarrassing mistake.

After interviewing Dale we made our way to Townsville Enterprise to interview Ross Contarino the General Manager of Economic Development. My job was to interview him about “business opportunities surrounding Ingham Airport”. Unfortunately, until Monday I never knew there was an airport of any description in Ingham. Being a Generation Y child, you would have thought I would have Googled it; but no, unfortunately it didn’t occur to me at the time. My situation wasn’t helped by the press release I was given about it, which was worded so badly (and by badly I mean the release was rife with classic confusing PR words to throw you off) nothing in it alerted me that there was, in fact, an airport in Ingham.

I then further compounded my problem when Ross Contarino asked “What are we talking about today?” and I said “The Ingham Airport” and I thought he replied “What, the planned Ingham Airport?” when actually he must have said “What, the plans for Ingham Airport?”. I also didn’t help my case by asking questions that made it sound like I knew there was an airport in Ingham already. Of course it took until my story was getting edited by one of the other journalists—and it became clear I was sinking into a pit of PR terms—that I had made quite the rookie error. I’m assuming the look on my face when I realised my mistake would have been perfect for a MasterCard advertisement i.e. priceless. I have a feeling my ethics lecturer will shake her head if she sees this; I’m personally still trying to work out whether to laugh about it or go hide in a corner somewhere.

After this mishap I got some grabs for the sport journalist Andrew’s Townsville Fire story as well as a story on the results from the first 9 months of the Drink Safe Precinct trial in Flinders Street East—all which went a lot better than the Ingham story. I also learnt the following tips:

  1. Words such as “that” are redundant in broadcast journalism
  2. Always contract e.g. it is to it’s
  3. If you don’t have footage of the person you’re talking about, attribute it to a higher position e.g. no footage of a health minister so you would instead attribute it to the state government.
  4. When writing stories such as complex PR stories, write it in the simplest form. For me this seems to be the one sentence I would use to describe the event aloud to someone.

Tuesday was a lot more successful. I started off by writing a Blood Blitz pack. A woman was giving blood for the 88th time and her husband is currently recovering from a rare form of leukaemia. The blood bank is also encouraging people right now to donate during Christmas and New Year to ensure their blood stores are able to cope with the holidays. I was told my story ended up good and it was sent to other newsrooms in the state for use. While I didn’t get to voice the story for air, I did get a chance to voice my story for personal benefit. I’m only just working out my news voice and having had cold/flu for two weeks definitely hasn’t helped my development but it sounded ok for a first try. I’m hoping if I keep reading stuff I read at home I will eventually have a decent news voice and be allowed to voice my stories for air.

I also wrote a VSV on the latest exhibit at the Museum of Tropical North Queensland. The exhibit is part of the National Museum’s travelling exhibition about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights and the fight that both non-Indigenous and Indigenous activists fought to gain them. I finished the day by writing a RVO on the changes being made to the Army however I think only a line or two of mine was used.

Next week I will be doing internship on Thursday instead of Monday because I don’t have any work commitments and hopefully it will be a good news day with lots of things to keep me busy.

WIN Internship Day #9 and #10

I may not be getting used to waking up early for an 8am start at internship just yet but I seem to be getting the hang of writing stories for broadcast journalism.

Monday internship started off with by writing a VSV about the Cowboys Spirit Cheersquad tryouts that were held over the weekend. However, halfway through writing my story I was sent out to the Perfume Gardens to interview Cr Jenny Lane about the school holiday program Townsville City Council will run in the summer holidays. We got shots of kids playing Nerf Wars (one of the newest additions to the program) and well as shots of African Drumming. After we finished getting interviews and shots, it was back to the station to finish the cheersquad VSV and start on the holiday program VSV.

Now that I’m getting used to writing VSVs it’s not taking me as long to do them. The first few times I did RVOs and VSVs—the difference between the two being whether or not they contain a sound grab—it probably took me around two hours to go through interviews, find the right grabs, write down what they said in the grabs, write a story broadcast style, add in all the clip information to match what I wrote and then add any other details. Now it probably takes me just over an hour to write a VSV (depending on the topic of course; fluffier/happier pieces take a lot less time to figure out).

I finished both my VSVs just after 2pm, so Andy gave me a crack at writing a pack (something I hadn’t done in a few weeks). The pack was on the North Queensland Tourism Awards that were held on the Friday night gone. Writing intros to packs are quite easy, but I’ve discovered my main issue comes from writing the first two sentences in the SOT (which is the main body of the story). Reef HQ and Remote Area Dive were both inducted into the Hall of Fame for winning an award in a certain category for the third year in a row, while lots of other local business won awards and were acknowledged for excellence in service in tourism during a tough economic time.

As it was a few days ago now I will have to look back on my stories in order to remember how much editing I needed. On Monday I think I didn’t need much done to my stories and only had a sentence changed in each story (although I needed a bit of hand-holding through the pack as I got a tad confused about what specifics to highlight). Tuesday, however was a bit of a stretch.

My first job of the day on Tuesday was to write a RVO about the start of jellyfish season for both Townsville and Cairns to use in their news bulletin that day. It was relatively easy and only needed a bit of editing done to it to cut out unnecessary words and reorganise some places. I was then given a second RVO to write about Blakey’s Crossing flooding after the first heavy rain of the wet season. Local members have been pushing for an upgrade to the crossing to flood-proof it for about 2 years now as the road floods every time it rains remotely heavy (or as some of the journalists joked “every time someone drops their coffee cup, Blakey’s Crossing floods”). The Bligh State Government put forward $12 million for the upgrade under the condition that Townsville City Council matched the offer but there’s been a whole lot of head butting and arguments that have prevented any decisions from being made. Basically, council doesn’t want ratepayers having to front the cost and are pushing for Federal or more State funding. Federal Member for Herbert Ewen Jones has been championing this upgrade for a while now.

I was then sent to Purcell Taylor Lawyers who were celebrating the 35, 30 and 20 years three of their family lawyers had spent practicing family law—85 combined years of experience as they were calling it. We interviewed the three (two who are senior associates and one who is a company director) as well as Ewen Jones who said it’s great to be celebrating so much experience in such an emotionally charged industry. They made a point of discussing the fact that there currently isn’t a family law court judge in Townsville right now which is quite problematic, as well as mentioning the changes that have occurred to the law that have given children a greater chance of having their voice heard. As someone with divorced parents myself, it was nice hearing how much more attention is paid to the children’s wishes these days.

After being back in the newsroom for roughly 2 minutes Bureau Chief Andy decided to send Carissa and me back out to road works drama on Kings Road that they’d been following on the scanner. Once we got there we discovered a section of road works wasn’t laid down properly and had started coming off the road and attaching to the wheels of cars driving over it faster than about 25km/h. From what I could see there wasn’t many road works signs were up either, so cars going through at first weren’t bothering to slow down and be cautious. Cars lined both sides of the road and people were everywhere; heaps of workmen were attending to cars trying to scrap some of the tar off.

When we arrived at 11.15am everyone had been waiting around for 45 minutes for Police or Mainroads or someone to come and block the road off. Unfortunately, Police didn’t arrive until 11.30am and cars had been driving through the mess for quite a while. We got some fantastic interviews from two extremely angry people whose cars had around 1-2 inches of tar/gravel attached to their tires. I don’t blame them for being so furious considering how hard a time the workmen were having getting it off the tires. Another woman who didn’t want to go on camera was on work time and her 2-year-old car had scratches down the side of it from where the road had pulled up and scratched it.

Once we got back to the newsroom a second time I started writing up the VSV about the legal milestone, as well as a VSV about reef care for both the Cairns and Townsville news bulletin. The reef care story was basically about letting the Greater Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA or GR-BRUM-PA as they were calling it) know if coral bleaching or coral damage is spotted during wet season. My reef story had quite a bit of editing done to it and my legal milestone story needed a fair bit as well.

Once I had completed both of these I had a crack at writing another VSV, this time about the Townsville Enterprise Business Industry Breakfast. To be completely honest, while I was completely thrilled to be writing my fifth story of the day it was quite a stretch on my writing abilities considering I haven’t been an intern long! After struggling a bit to figure out how to write it (“sharp, short and simple” was the advice I was given after being asked how I was going and saying I’d rewritten the story three times) I got there in the end and again required a fair bit of editing. A challenging two days but I can definitely say I learn a lot and came out relatively unscathed.

WIN Internship Day #7 and #8

Monday and Tuesday were my seventh and eighth days of internship at WIN News Townsville and as usual quite enjoyable, albeit challenging.

On Monday I accompanied journalist Bec and cameraman Dean to the Magistrates’ Court to follow-up the outcome of a drug bust a few weeks ago. Unfortunately nothing much happened as one defendant’s case was adjourned till a later date and the other failed to show up (causing a warrant for his arrest to be issued).

After watching court cases for roughly two hours and discovering that the staff at the courts are a lot nicer to journalists from a news station compared to journalism students, we headed to James Cook University for the First Nation’s Talk were Lex Wotton spoke for the first time in the three years since being jailed during the Palm Island death in custody case. The event featured speeches from prominent indigenous academics and identities. Lex Wotton really commanded the audience’s attention and gave a detailed account of the events during the death in custody on Palm Island. His twenty-minute speech easily turned into a one hour speech that even had to be halted and left for Wednesday’s session.

After returning to the station after nearly five hours of collecting news, I got started on a VSV about the tenth annual Stable on the Strand which will be happening at the Townsville Strand Park in December. The footage was all shot during the weekend and so it was simply my job to write it up. If you live in the area you can expect nativity plays, bands, Christmas food and more at the event.

Tuesday started off with finding grabs for the helicopter crash which had occurred in Ayr on Monday night. The two witnesses interviewed–a man and his son who helped save the chopper’s passenger and pilot–gave some great quotes for us to use as grabs which was great. Both were very casual about the fact they had pulled the pilot’s body out of the chopper in order to protect him from the potential explosion of the helicopter. To quote the son when he asked how he felt about being 16 years old and helping to get the pilot out before an explosion occurred, “you gotta do what you gotta do”.

Later in the morning I headed out to the city with Bureau Chief Andy to visit the Townsville Maritime Museum who were celebrating their 25th anniversary that day. I met Maritime president Tony Manning and interviewed him about the Museum and upcoming plans they have for it. Funding from the Townsville Port Authority means they are able to build a berth for HMAS Townsville and they are also planning to secure more funding for expansion (which may even include a restaurant area).

Next we headed to Townsville Enterprise to interview the new General Manager of Destination Marketing and Development, Patricia O’Callaghan. TEL is planning new tourism strategies to boost tourism in the area in order to renew Townsville’s identity as a travel destination and boost the local economy. I got another chance at interviewing and didn’t do too badly, however, probably not as well as I did interviewing Tony Manning–probably something to do with the increased pressure of asking questions when there are other journalists from other news organisations doing exactly what you are at the exact same time.

After we got back to the newsroom I started writing up the stories we’d collected. Unlike Monday when I had no trouble with the Stable on the Strand story and had very little of it edited, I struggled with the harder news story about Townsville Enterprise. I think the TEL story might have clouded my thinking about my maritime article because both required a lot of editing to make them more simple and readable.

I still need to work on writing extremely succinct sentences that convey the information properly without taking up valuable seconds. I’m starting to realise that perfect grammar and punctuation doesn’t completely apply in broadcast journalism. I also learnt more about the codes and clip information you need to include in articles, as well as the different between F6 and F10 ‘take grab’ buttons–one is for packs and the other is for VSVs and RVOs. Needless to say, it was a good learning experience and as usual the WIN team is absolutely lovely about it and about helping you grasp the ins and outs of broadcast journalism. Hopefully next time my stories will have improved and I’ll have finally gotten the hang of clipping information such as time selections, grabs etc as well!

WIN Internship Day #6

Monday marked my 6th day of internship with WIN News Townsville and as always I gained some new insights into the industry.

I started off the day writing up a package about Bohlevale State School’s centenary. Over the weekend the school had celebrated 100 years of educating local children and held markets, dancing, centenary re-enactments for past and current students and their families to see. My story was sub-edited by Bec—who had been away since I met her on my first day—and she was quite happy with my story which she said had improved significantly since the first piece she edited for me. It’s good to know I’m learning quickly!

I then went out to shadow Emily (jouralist) and (Paul) on a job. First we went out to Kirwin roadworks to meet up with council MPs about the ongoing natural disaster recovery for Townsville Roads. We then headed to Hermit Park to meet with some LNP candidates about the proposed fishing bans the ALP wants to implement. I must admit I did experience political agenda and spin in action for the first time. I’m now certain that most politicians could talk to a brick-wall under water. Luckily it’s teaching me what to listen out for when I get the chance to interview one or when I’m looking for good grabs to use.

After we returned to the newsroom I wrote up another package, this time about the auction of the home of collapsed Storm Financial owners Emmanuel and Julie Cassimatis. Unfortunately it had a lot more editing done to it than my first story but that’s the learning curve, I guess.

I’m not voicing stories yet, however I’ve been told to keep practicing my news voice so that I can have a go soon. I’ve still got quite a few hours to go and a lot of learning still to do and I look forward to it.

WIN Internship Day #5

It was business as usual (a cliché phrase avoided in stories) in the WIN newsroom yesterday; with two journalists still awake sick/on holidays there was a new face in the newsroom filling in–it’s amazing how people get moved around so that a newsroom can cope with a man down.

I started the day by heading out with the other (paid, more experienced) intern, Emily, and the senior cameraman to cover the White Ribbon Day activities being held at the Townsville Golf Club. All of the local men pledged an oath over breakfast to help stop violence against women and then had a day of golf in the sun. After interviewing on of the White Ribbon ambassadors and the mayor, Less Tyrell, we headed back to the newsroom where I wrote up the story and was told I did a much better job than I have previously. Jesse sub-edited my work and luckily only my lead, some unnecessary words and one body-sentence had to be changed.

After writing up the White Ribbon Day VSV I was tasked with finding appropriate grabs for a story about the NQ Cowboys pre-season, as well as wadding through an interview with a local politician to grab a quote about the new entertainment centre that’s being proposed there.

Yesterday wasn’t a massive day news-wise, however, I still learnt quite a bit (like count-downs before grabs are only included for VSVs RVOs etc). I also got some really positive feedback about my latest story, written much more in a broadcast style, from the Bureau Chief. I’m disappointed I have an exam to study for; otherwise I’d be volunteering to go out and about to collect news stories. There’ll be lots more to learn next week I assume!

WIN Internship Day #4

Today was day 4 of my internship at WIN News and went relatively smoothly.

I first headed out to the Miniversity ELC where Food Safety Week was being hosted. Of the few kindergardens I’ve been in to, Miniversity is pretty cool. Homemade food like chicken Rossini and stir-fry is cooked for the kids and they have food from a different country each week! It sounds a lot better than the apple and wholemeal ham sandwich I was given every day as a child. Cr Dale Last was at the centre and we interviewed him, but unfortunately another news network was there and I wasn’t quick enough asking my questions. We also interviewed the owners who used to own a local restaurant and have been in hospitality for 50+ years—needless to say they are proficient at handling their delicious food safely.

Upon getting back to the newsroom, I wrote the story up and then had it sub-edited by the acting sports editor. I struggled a bit find my way through all the PR spin and my story needed quite a bit of editing. I tried avoiding talking about the council and instead tried focusing on the kids, but the council’s food safety inspections of child care centers around the city was the focus of the event and so my story didn’t work so well. I was happy to get the feedback I did and hopefully next time I’ll have more luck with the PR spin.

An hour or so later, I was sent back out to a truck rollover after hearing about it on the scanner. It wasn’t a big accident but we got some shots (no interview) and also got some extra footage of one of three bush-fires in the Stuart area which were keeping firefighters very busy. Smoke engulfed the entire area and flames were blazing quite close to the road.

When I got back I wrote up both of the stories and had them sub-edited by the Bureau Chief. With so little information about both I initially struggled and had to have my truck rollover article edited a fair bit. Once I was given more information about the bush-fires I tackled the story again but then ended up trying to squeeze too much info and story-telling into a 30 second story. Next time I’ll probably do a better job at balancing the two out so my story doesn’t need quite so much editing.

In all another day of learning lots about broadcast journalism; I would definitely be looking forward to next week a whole lot more if I didn’t have to sit an exam this time next week!