I have watched devastating bushfires, Kim Jong Un’s handshake with the leader of South Korea and a royal wedding all from my seat in a newsroom. It’s the front row seat to the world’s most riveting, heartbreaking and unbelievable stories.
I’ve held back tears and laughed all while hunched over a computer glued to the news breaking before me. Working in a newsroom is something I always hoped that I’d do. I’ve always loved writing and using that ability to create stories.
Journalists that I’ve admired for years are now my colleagues and even friends. Nothing compares to the feeling you get after that journalist you admire follows you back on Instagram.
I’ve met a fair few celebrities in my time out of sheer luck. The Queen tops my list. Yet when I’m standing face to face with a journalist I’m a little starstruck. I think that’s because they are what I aspire to be.
I have a true appreciation and love for my job. You can even see that for yourself. The newsroom I work in is surrounded by glass. Windows surrounded the room allowing anyone to look in. I have no clue why we require so many windows but who doesn’t love natural lighting? The point is you could walk past to look in and see my passion visibly.
As a nervous university student, I placed a high level of importance on experience. I wanted to ensure that when I graduated I’d have a resume full of companies I’d worked for voluntarily. I wanted to impress these companies.
By my final year of university, I had completed four internships. I had well and truly lived out my shit kicker duties. Coffee runs, returning costumes and holding microphones until I thought my arm needed amputating.
I’d worked as an entertainment TV production intern, a business news writer and a science journalism intern. Two of these three areas I’m not particularly a genius in. I’d ace a test on Kanye, but as for atoms and cells, I’d fail miserably. Science only matters to me if we’re discussing dinosaurs.
It was my most recent internship that would kick my career truly into the gear I needed. A simple email ended up being the single most important step. It was a determination of not giving up. I sent the email at a time when I thought I wasn’t good enough to hit the bigger news companies like the one I was approaching. I’d applied for several internships and not heard back. I honestly expected the same from this.
As I arrived at my waitressing job I opened up an email which informed me I would begin interning the following week. I pleased with my manager to let me replace the required shifts and took orders with more customer service than I’d ever shown.
After one week I had impressed them so much I was offered a casual position. My big secret to scoring it was simply saying yes to everything.
A career in this industry can’t be built on unwillingness. Every time I see an intern walk through the doors of my workplace I stop to encourage them to just say yes. To fake it till they make it. They might not know what they’re doing, but only they know that. Don’t be afraid to say yes. Questions are fine to ask. Make sure you ask them after agreeing to do what it is they need you to do.
One year later
That internship was last year and boy have I come a fair way.
I’ve managed to defy even my own expectations. Between early 4am starts and late midnight finishes, I’ve created achievements I’m proud of. Despite the lack of sleep and long hours, I’ve not for one moment regretted my choice. I said goodbye to taking coffee orders and hello to my dream career.
I’ve covered some incredible stories and watched world-changing events occur from the newsroom. A place that has an encompassing feel about it when news breaks. Adrenalin runs through your body and all that matters is getting that information out there.
How it works
My job is to tell you what’s happening in the world. While most people might roll their eyes at the media it’s honestly such a vital part of how we operate. We can’t make decisions without information. Who we vote for, social injustices and disaster need to be reported on.
Despite Trump slurring ‘fake news’ every five minutes and degrading its importance, there is no denying how significant the role of the media is. It’s our obligation to show you the Prime Minister informing us about what changes he/she plans to make to your country. It’s investigative journalism that uncovers secrets. If it’s in the public interest I for one want to ensure I use my abilities to inform using fact.
My favourite stories are the less hard-hitting. Stories which occur in our backyards. Heroic rescues by members of the community or those contributing to charity and need to be recognised. Those are the stories I tend to love producing and find why journalism and the media are significant. It amplifies stories which might otherwise be silenced.
I was there
It was just one call changed the entire mood of the newsroom. A call to the news director from a journalist based in Las Vegas. She told him something was occurring in her hotel a few floors above her.
At the Mandalay Bay hotel, Stephen Paddock was a few floors above her firing shots into a crowd enjoying a concert. 59 people were killed and hundreds more injured.
I sat for the next eight hours glued to the story tasked with keeping social media updated with updated death tolls and information. All whilst keeping it together and composed. I held back the tears watching iPhone footage from social media loaded onto our servers. Listening to shots ring out and crowds panic. This was the first time I came face to face with a story that caused me to feel emotionally impacted to this degree.
One thing you learn quickly is to detach emotion. Don’t feel. Your job is to just report what happened. Stick to the facts and don’t feel. I’ve seen horrid car accidents, assaults and even worse. I see the footage before the news airs it blurred.
I’ve covered terrorism in London and Paris, but I wasn’t sat in the newsroom as these events occurred. I had arrived shortly after or it had occurred while I was sleeping. My heart sunk with each email I received as the updated information came to hand.
Despite the difficult days, I’ve also witnessed happy moments.
I was lucky enough to watch the royal wedding from a newsroom. I had the most amazing opportunity to watch Harry marry Meghan wed. I watched from the various camera angles at hand, information getting to my eyes first and of course the opportunity to watch the speech from that crazy bishop tenfold. Trust that I did.
What is next for me?
Who actually knows the answer to this question.
My goals stretch wide and far. I reach for the stars while chasing the moon at the same time. The news is something I’ve always had a passion for. It’s important to me that I have a sense of awareness of what occurs in the world around me. We’re all part of a global community, which means communication between us is vital. News helps to do that and I love to be behind the contribution of that. Coinciding with this I’ve always loved writing. Marrying the two with a steady income is perhaps the biggest goal.
I hope that I’ll soon get the opportunity to further my career with a little more responsibility. I want the goal that every university student aspires to reach. The full-time job aspiration is heavy on my mind. Employment and degree don’t necessarily always correlate.
Thankfully I have this little space on the internet to keep me preoccupied and pursue my love of writing.