An update of sorts

Dear readers,

Job hunting is slowly, but surely, destroying my soul.

That is all.

Your friend,



Crikey Journal: Day Ten

I have received a few threats messages over the last couple of days regarding my lack of blog updates so I feel it is necessary to explain myself.  Since returning from Melbourne, I have been kept busy with completing my degree.  I handed in my final assignment a week and a half ago and decided to dedicate some time to hardcore chilling.  I’m now adequately Arctic so here, have an update.

Friday, 19/11/10: The Final Installment – I thought about describing my final day at Crikey as bittersweet but likening it to Cantonese cuisine is probably more accurate.  Although it’s a rather popular dish among “my kind”, I’m not a huge fan of sweet and sour pork.  It’s definitely more sweet than it is sour and I don’t think that’s fair coming from something with a name that suggests a balanced distribution.  I’d even go as far as to say it’s false advertising.  The fact that my local (top work, Chin Wah) serves it up with enough MSG to choke a particularly hardy ostrich is irrelevant to this analogy, but probably contributes to my disdain towards the dish.  Long story short, my final day as a Crikey intern was far more orange, sticky and sweet than it was sour.  But it was still a little bit sour. In a sad way.  Not in the way that makes your face contort into the shape of a dropped pie.

I bet you’re glad you bugged me to update now.

What did I do?

  • Daily Proposition: Because, really, there’s no excuse not to be building stuff out of Lego.
  • The Wankley: Out of everything I wrote at Crikey I think this was the most enjoyable.  Underneath all the news and current affairs and politics, it’s really just an unmitigated bitchfest… and I really love Oprah.
  • Chocolate: It wasn’t bribery, it was my final day.  The fact that the deputy editor was filling in my assessment form was completely coincidental.

What did I learn about journalism?

It was probably something to do with how important it is to make the most of learning opportunities and experiences.  But that might result in me saying something terribly corny about how grateful I am to be given the chance to work with such a fantastic group of people and that I’m incredibly appreciative of the way they all looked after me and, whether intentionally or not, taught me valuable lessons about journalism… so I won’t say it. 

Oh, and Luke Buckmaster is probably the greatest film journalist/person ever maybe.  Do you read Cinetology?  You should.

Crikey Journal: Day Nine

Sit back and relax, boys and girls, because it’s time for another installment of Cat’s Adventures At Crikey Zoo!  Oh the joys of being a forgetful panda.

Thursday, 18/11/10 – Today was Cat’s penultimate day at The Crikey Zoo and that made her a bit of a sad panda.  Not only did it mean she would have to leave all her new furry friends, but she’d also have to return home to Perth which was dull and everything was made of concrete and they still kept bears in those dodgy cages.  She often complained about Perth, but she liked it really.  It had her house and her panda family and all her other fuzzy friends.  The real problem with going back to Perth was that, upon handing in her final pandaversity assignment at the end of the following week, she would be thrown out into the real world where she would have to fend for herself and nobody would spoon feed her bamboo anymore.  What Cat really needed, though, was a nice big spoonful of concrete so she could harden … up.

What did Cat do today?

  • Media Brief write-up: Cat spent a bit of time writing and researching the ways in which naughty people make the Internet a dangerous place for young pandas.  And old pandas.  And endangered pandas too.  But they’re already in a bit of danger anyway so the Internet is probably the least of their worries.  In any case, you can read about it here (if you scroll down a bit).
  • Comment fetching: This involved calling up a few journo academics and trying to get a comment on what they thought about the proposed changes to The 7.30 Report. Many an academic was called, yet only one lovely man took the time to talk to Cat, and what a comment he gave.
  • Daily Proposition: Cat’s afternoon was spent writing about why people should play with Lego more often.  One would assume that playing with Lego could be a particularly arduous task for a panda but, once again, she’s a maverick.

What did she learn about journalism?

Cat genuinely did put a lot of effort into getting the requested comment for that article.  She called around six different people until she finally got through to somebody.   Perhaps it was her tendency to accidentally mash the keypad with her paws that caused her to get a series of wrong numbers, but it was more likely a case of people being busy and unable to take calls.  If you have a deadline to meet and you need to get a comment, it’s hugely important to, where possible, have a list of back-up sources.  As Cat learnt in the first week – sources can make or break a story.

Crikey Journal: Day Eight

Wednesday, 17/11/10 – Tonight was the night of the long-awaited First Dog On The Moon book launch and what a delightful event it was.  It began with the typical stroll down the red carpet and a cheeky wave to Brangelina.  I only managed a quick hello to the dog himself because his security team were busy trying to keep Rowling away.  Apparently she’d been hassling him to give her advice on how to write a best-seller or something.  After a few dazzling speeches and an exclusive book signing, we ate and drank and became merry while dancing the night away.  At least that’s how I pictured the launch in my head from the couch at home.  My evening was actually spent celebrating my cousin’s 11th birthday with spinach pie and Lego.  Not necessarily together.

On a serious note, you should probably definitely buy the book.  The link is here AND here.  Not really.  But it is here.  It is stupidly funny and highly informative and probably the sixth best book I’ve ever read.  It also fits perfectly under the leg of the coffee table to stop the annoying coffee-wobble.  No one likes coffee-wobble.

What did I do today?

  • Media Briefs aggregation: You know the drill by now.
  • Article: The tip I’d been following up for the last week or so finally all came together.  After adding a few bits and pieces this morning to give it a bit more something, it was sent out in the daily mail.  The process took some time but taught me a lot.

What did I learn about journalism?

The paramedics article was the first time I’d dealt with sources who wished to remain anonymous.  Not only did it mean that I needed to find other people to speak on the record in order to make the article credible, but it also brought into play all that stuff we talked about in our ethics unit but didn’t think would apply to us for quite some time.  I’d never properly understood the relationship between journalism and society until that happened.  People who you’ve never spoken to before will trust you with information that could potentially jeopardise their careers or, in more serious circumstances, their lives.  More importantly, they trust that you’ll keep their names withheld regardless of the circumstances.  How you choose to use that level of trust, or even respect, has the ability to define who you are as a journalist.

Crikey Journal: Day Seven

For the purpose of this entry, the people mentioned will be represented by animalsI feel this may add necessary interest in a journal entry that would otherwise be lacking – partly because it was a very ordinary day but mostly because I genuinely can’t remember what happened.  Clearly The Elevator Incident has had a delayed effect.

Tuesday, 16/11/10 – To begin with, boys and girls, you must know that Cat was a very tired panda today.  Cat is 20 years old you see and, given that pandas usually only live to 30 or so in captivity, she had come to realise that she was two thirds of her way through life and probably going through panda-menopause.  She was also growing weary of people continually speculating that she would take the role of a cat were she ever to appear in a journal entry where real people assume the role of animals.  She’s a bit of a maverick, don’t cha know?

Anyway, today was just an ordinary day at The Crikey Zoo, but it was also the day that she handed her assessment form to Deputy Orangutan Jason Whittaker.  This saddened Cat as it meant her days left at the zoo were now limited, but it also made her little nervous because when you’re a 120kg mammal with limited journalistic experience and a need to eat 10kg of bamboo a day, you can never be too sure how things are going to turn out.   She did find out about Jason’s love of white chocolate, however, and used that knowledge accordingly.

What did Cat do today?

  • Media Briefs aggregation: It’s difficult to type when your big paws are ill-equipped for such a tiny keyboard, but Cat tried her hardest all the same.  She’d had some practice last week and was getting a little speedier each day.
  • Information gathering: There was a lot of talk about gay marriage and equal opportunity today which, as a panda, Cat didn’t really understand but Jasonangutan asked her to put together a list of information to help him out and Cat did.  She also reckons that, if she was human, she’d probably check this letter out.  It’s not exactly Home Panda Way, but it’s an excellent read.
  • Back in a Bit: Remember that blog Cat told you about yesterday?  She spent the afternoon doing the finishing touches on her article.  It’s bizarre really.  You’d think someone would have noticed a panda wandering around Melbourne.

What did she learn about journalism?

Sometimes there are days when things go so slowly that you’re forced to pretend you are a panda in order to make it interesting.  Other days you don’t have time to think twice about which animal you’d like to be in such a situation.  Whichever type of day it is, it’s important to focus and be as productive as possible in order to best utilise the time you have with experienced journalists who can give you feedback.  Speaking of getting your feedback, don’t eat the black bamboo.

Crikey Journal: Day Six

It has been brought to my attention that the Crikey team have an occasional gander this way.  Let’s see how well I’ve learnt to write to certain audiences.

Monday, 15/11/10 – Three men down.  Panic stations.  During this morning’s content meeting we were informed that three team members would be absent for the day.  As we sat there in our glass cage of emotion (I wish I could say this was a metaphor – really, you should see the room), hushed murmurs of “they’ll never make it!” floated around and a thought struck me.  Deputy editor Jason Whittaker was away.  Not only had I just been informed that I would be sorting out media briefs because of this but, more importantly, what was I going to do without that shining beacon of light to guide me through the murky depths and uncertainty of the journalism world like a true, honorable Miyagi-esque mentor?

Well, I coped.  We all did.  The issue went out (relatively) on time too.  This probably helped:

What did I do today?

  • Media Briefs (writing & aggregation): If I said I wasn’t mildly horrified at the initial thought of writing a same-morning-brief then I’d be lying.  But with the help of the wonderfully charming Tom Cowie and guidance from the delightful yet fiercely sexy Amber Jamieson, we got there.  Well, we got here actually.
  • Back In A Bit: It’s basically a blog where people contribute their travel stories.  Given I traveled to Melbourne for the Crikey gig, I figured I may as well write about a bit about it.  I mostly spent the afternoon working on that and listening to First Dog express his abhorrence towards the Disney adaptation of Winnie The Pooh. You must always pay attention to First Dog for he is ever so wise and knowledgeable.  Did you know he has a publicist?  He does.

What did I learn about journalism?

A deadline is still a deadline even when half your news team is potentially dead(line).  I actually knew that already but I just felt I hadn’t used such a clever pun in a while.  But on a serious note, days like today just emphasise how important the notion of teamwork is and how crucial it is to push yourself further when others are unable to.  News doesn’t stop because people are away and neither should you.  If you’re anything like me (and I’m sorry if you are), you work better under pressure.  In an instance like this, try to use it to your advantage.

Crikey Journal: Day Five

Two posts in one day?  You lucky things.  I shall keep this one short.

Friday, 12/11/10 – And so my first week as an intern comes to an end and what a week it has been.  As the weekend approaches, things cool off a bit and once the newsletter goes out the Crikey team goes on a little lunch outing.  It’s all about recuperation and team-building and serious discussions about journalism, politics and Lisa McCune.  After bundling back into the office we were informed that someone had won an exuberant amount of Ben & Jerry’s. Given the office’s lack of freezer, much of my afternoon was dedicated to distribution and consumption activities.   I’m sure these skills will come in handy one day. 

What did I do today?

  • Tips: Continued to follow up the same tip from a few days ago – making phone calls, gathering comments etc.
  • Media Briefs help: Tracking down information like a proper “newshound” (sorry, I promise I will never use that phrase again) and firing it across to the Eds.

And the Daily Proposition I wrote went out in the Friday morning newsletter, so that was nice.

What did I learn about journalism?

Following up stories over extended periods of time can become quite tiresome but in no way does that compare to the unsatisfactory feeling of submitting something half-arsed.  Be grateful that you have so much time to chase down sources.  Also, ice cream fixes everything.