Multimedia Reporting 2, module assignment 3.

November 22, 2010

Upon participating in live rolling news day’s at university, it has given me the opportunity to work like a professional journalist does, and the feeling of embodying what true professional online journalism is. It has been a nerve-wracking, scary, fun, exciting and pressurised rollercoaster ride which has given me valuable work experience.

In preparation for the assessed live rolling news day we did a practice run as a class. We assigned different roles e.g. Editor, Picture and Media Editor, Sub – Editors and different genres to write about like politics, entertainment, music etc, as a class. It was planned well in advance in preparation for the day, and it was agreed we should begin the day one hour early to have a team meeting prior to the two hour deadline. All these precautions did not mean the day was without its hitches.

I personally was assigned the role of Writer, and I had taken on the topic area of entertainment.  Thinking it would be allowed, I researched an entertainment story about a theatre showing of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at the Usher Hall. It was to be shown on Halloween and therefore seasonally relevant and also news worthy, however, when it came to speaking with the Editor, and Kathleen, it was decided it was too much like feature writing or a review, and it had also been written about so it was not regarded as an original news story. This was a blow as I had no other story as a back-up, a big mistake I discovered.

I tried in vain to research a story that was within my topic area and could not find anything, I then asked if I could change to general news and was given the go ahead. Much to my despair, I discovered I had half an hour left. I started to research my story knowing there was no way I could make the deadline. With fifteen minutes left to the deadline, it was suggested I make a podcast from one of the wire feeds from the tower. I took a ‘sport’ feed and created a podcast just within the deadline. I felt a mixture of: jittery with nerves from talking into the microphone and recording and of course the pressure of having such a short time to deadline, jubilation at making the deadline and reporting something interesting and news worthy i.e. the administration of a football club, and dismay at not producing a piece of writing and fulfilling my role as Writer. I also felt a little guilty as I felt like I was letting everyone down – even though I did produce something of value to the group.

In reflection, there were deadline issues for me on the day; I did not complete my original task and fulfil my role as Writer (although I did make the deadline with another task – a short podcast). This helped me on the actual live rolling news assessment day as I knew, from my prior failure to make the deadline; I had a tight schedule to get my story out there to the deadline this time around.

Therefore on the assessment day I was armed with this experience as I prepared and researched my story and sourced contacts for quotes. The preparation meant I was able to turn up on the day and write what was needed, and on time. The Editor had set the deadline for submission of stories half an hour before the deadline so that she and the Subs could edit the pieces in time for deadline.

The Editor set up a Facebook page prior to the day to discuss any issues, any ideas for stories and anything that we wanted to discuss. It was a really good idea and established good communication in the group. The group as a whole were better organised and were more efficient at getting their stories completed in time. We were one hour early on the assessment day to again have a team meeting and to discuss our stories with the Editor. This is indicative of good time keeping as we were all punctual on this earlier start.

Everyone was made responsible for their own pictures for articles on the assessment day. On the practice, someone was responsible for gathering all photographs, but this was seen as wasteful of another writer’s skills. So an extra article was achieved by assigning each writer to their own pictures and making them responsible for their own captions, headings etc.

I published an article to deadline on the assessment day and during my time of writing with all outside pressures included I had to also remember to be balanced, impartial, ethical, accurate, and reflective of readership age group (18 – 30 year olds). Guardian styling was to be used and this was all required under deadline.

My experience of writing for online news was a difficult and weathering affair which I am not likely to forget. It was an insight into an industry in which I quake at the thought of what is to come in my future career. It was however, a valuable experience, and something I am quite proud I completed.

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September 17, 2009

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