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.