Evening News gone wild west.

22Apr09

I am on my work experience week at the Manchester Evening News this week. Its easy to get to as its int he same place I did my TV work experience a few weeks ago.

I was originally down to do a week of features at the MEN but that got cancelled and I managed to wangle myself a rather spiffing week at the news desk. Its now Wednesday so I better make these last two days count because by the looks of things the world of journalism is crashing down about our ears. Its a bit like the wild west. People are shooting themselves in the foot by taking voluntary redundancy, people are sucking up, people are working like crazy and people are being shot down arbitrarily it seems. In the name of what? Thats not rhetorical, I still don’t really know. 

Friday will be misery as 39 people are going to either have to jump or be pushed due to more horrific budget cuts and even the men on the street handing out free copies by the wheelbarrow load have vanished! 

I met a young lady who works for Cavendish, a news agency based here in Manchester, and she told me to get out why I still can. I told her I had no intention of jumping out of this little raft I have built for myself, even if I wanted to I wouldn’t jump because it would give my father you-should-have-gone-into-museum-curating ammunition. 

Anyway Monday was very cool, I followed John, one of the two crime reporters to a very interesting case about a young man who is on trial for an alleged hoax regarding a a drunken-man-in-canal scenario resulting in thousands of pounds worth of rescue teams and emergency services to be called out to Potato Wharf but for nothing. The case has been adjourned. I can’t really say any more because the case hasn’t finished yet but needless to say it made the front page. 

The defendant wanted to speak to the reporter to get his side across but unfortunately due to privilege laws anything he says thats not part of proceedings isn’t covered. 

So yesterday was mostly writing stories from press releases which is dull because I like to get out the office meeting people but it got me two stories in the paper today with pictures but no byline but its still valuable portfolio stuff! Of course, I rang companies and individuals to get quotes and a bit more depth but you’re still at a desk, aren’t you.

And today I did another couple of press releases and I followed one of the reporters to the Magistrates Court (getting to be a bit of a regular down there to be honest) to “spot”. 

Now spotting is when in a series of trials/ sentences/ whatever at the Mags where they tend to be back to back, the reporter can’t leave the room to advise the photographer who to snap. So the spotter runs up and down the stairs when convenient to tell the photographer what the defendant looks like so they get a picture! Easy as pie! Only one of our key players today escaped through a fire exit, cheeky mare. 

So it goes well. The atmosphere is a bit gloomy at times, lots of gallows humour. And my mentor-for-a-week Kevin Duffy at the TV station remembered who I was… he still calls me Sophie though even though I have repeatedly told him that is not my name.

If by some lucky hap I get a job there I might have to change my name to Sophie just to be polite. 

Anyway, journalism is fun for those who want it. I am persisting and making myself known locally. I have applied for one job that is a bit too good to be true. Haven’t heard back yet but its a good one, well within my range of skills and the perks are good too! But jobs like that are few and far between. I have learned in this industry its who you know, how good you are at it, how badly you want it and do you feel lucky?

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