Diary of a Journalism Post-Grad, Chapter 15

Lesson learnt from this week: do not go on a bender before attending a parliamentary lobby. Something I should probably already have known, but I decided to put it to the test this week, anyway.

On Tuesday nights, I usually go to see my brother, who lives nearby, for a pub quiz at his local. We were finally crowned in glory this week and decided to celebrate by playing a game with a bottle of gin. No-one can ever really win that kind of game and I most certainly lost. I felt
dreadful – I must have looked even worse – but I soldiered on to Parliament Square to attend a
press event about cuts in funding to English language classes for asylum seekers and refugees.

More campaign journalism then… It went okay: I got some case studies and unexpectedly fell into conversation with some chief execs of major campaign groups. But, all the time, I just desperately wanted to crawl back into my bed.

Luckily, classes were cancelled the following day (someone must like me) so I got to catch up on missed working time. Full of renewed optimism – it no longer felt as if my insides were pickled – I hit the phones to get comments from my feature. Only one person picked up/returned my call. I have now left countless messages for some of these people. I know it doesn’t always get better when you are actually working for a real publication, but, all the same, it’s pretty demoralising. Tomorrow, I will ring my list of third choice parties; it has to be better than lines of, ‘The ‘insert name’ here refused to comment’.

This was the last week of the normal timetable as we are now going into three weeks of production. One paper a week, based on either Hackney or Islington, depending upon where our patches from last term were. I managed to avoid being picked as editor; not sure I could edit my way out of a paper bag at the moment, and am writing primarily for the sports pages with a few features on the side. I have already found some local marathon runners and a few Comic Relief sports events, so it’s all in hand. It goes to press next Thursday and then it all starts again, so we produce a total of three papers, overall.

It’ll be great to see some stuff in print from our patches, but at the same time it’s been a long time since I walked the streets of Hackney Central. I can see why it’s been organised this way round – we have more Quark and features experience, and a much better news sense – but its hard
rekindling the ol’ contacts of the patch after such a long absence.

Laura x

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