Today I had my first day of proper work experience, at a proper paper in a proper news room. I thought I would take the opportunity to document it, so in a few years when I am Carrie Bradshaw, I can look back at little old me, so naive, and see how far I have come (here’s hoping anyway.)
In my eyes today was a goodbye to reporting on ‘Who shat on the swings in the childs play park’ or ‘Who spilt the milk on the bus’ (both actual examples of my previous work) this was going to be proper journalism. I was ready to make the best first impression, I even practiced my good handshake in the car with my mum- I might be about to become a budding reporter, but when I see the words ‘replacement bus service’ I can’t cope, so yes I was dropped off at my first day by my mum.
Back to that great first impression, everything was going so well, I strutted through the very fancy glass lobby, glided up the escalators, grabbed my guest pass and pushed through the double doors onto the news room floor. Although it wasn’t the news room floor, I was in a hallway with another set of double door starring me in the face. No worries, I start prepping my self for great impression round two. Again I push the doors, only they don’t budge, I try pushing and pulling but they really don’t budge. Then I notice a pad next to the door, on which you are clearly meant to swipe your card, I don’t have a card, I have a flimsy piece of paper in a plastic wallet that states (as if it weren’t to be clear enough) I am a Visitor. I head back tail between my legs to the reception, only the door I just came through is to also shut tight, only penetrable by the ‘proper’ workers with special cards. I am stuck, stuck in a tiny hall with no idea how to rectify the situation. I cross my fingers and hope that someone will come and save me. By this time its 2 minutes before I am meant to present myself to the person who will be guiding me on my first few days. I swallow my pride and knock on the double doors, obviously no one hears, so I result to flailing my arms around, and sticking my face against the glass pane. Someone coughs behind me, ‘I take it that you are the intern?’ And so beings my first day…
After having the tour of the newsroom, I was taken to my desk, my own desk! A copy of the paper landed infront of me and I was told to look through it. There is only so long one can spend reading 27 pages, especially when at least 7 of those are adverts, so after about 20 minutes I look around in the hope for instructions. My email pings and I am given my first task, an actual article to go in the paper at the weekend, nothing groundbreaking but still, I can do this, they actually trust me to do this! I open my laptop all ready to start, no WiFi. I clear my throat and ask the guy opposite me (in my best ‘please take me seriously I know I look about fourteen but I promise I am wise beyond my years’ voice) does he know the WiFi password. When he opens his mouth to reply he has the strongest Australian accent I have heard. From what I manage to understand, Crocodile Dundee has no idea about the Internet, so I spend with next two hours ironically writing a piece about where to find free wifi in the city with no internet.
Definitely time for lunch. Lunch is technically at half twelve, but at two o’clock I am still twiddling my thumbs at my desk awkwardly waiting to be dismissed. I take things into my own hands and go and find my editor, when I politely ask if I can go on my break she stares at me as if it was the most stupid question I could have asked- take that as a yes then.
When I return, following another trapped between doors fiasco, I actually have things to do on my desk, my heart starts to race, what is it going to be? I am heading to court to report on a high profile crime or taking to streets to get the scoop on a headline story? Um no. In front of me lies a press release from an aquarium who has recently adopted two new female sharks, on a post it note it reads ‘Hi Hebe, We are running a Valentines Day story on two sharks in the Caribbean Reef display tank, 300 words word be great.’ I spend the rest of the day writing a love story about bloody lemon sharks.
As I push my way through the revolving doors at the end of the day, I am feeling incredibly positive. Despite what this post may suggest, today was actually quite amazing. I might have felt anxious, and awkward and so unbelievably out of place but I never once felt bored, just being in the environment was exciting, even seeing my byline underneath a blown up picture of a massive fish was astonishing. I am pretty sure this feeling won’t last, but for the moment for the first time in a while, I feel like I am taking my first steps in the right direction…