Is this what it’s like to be a journalist?

I went to get some work experience at the AAP (Australian Associated Press) today, and it was fantastic! I learnt a lot about how an agency like AAP operates, and how that is in many cases quite different to a traditional newsroom. IMG_8060

I met a family friend in the morning at their main offices in Rhodes and she gave me a tour around, explaining briefly what each part of the office did.

I also met the Editor, who was incredibly gracious and helpful in setting me up for the day. I started off chatting with him about how the newsroom works and how stories and images travel from creation to sharing on news websites and papers around Australia.

I then caught the train to the Sydney city newsroom (the day added to include six train/bus journeys!) to meet a finance reporter who was headed to an event at a hotel near Circular Quay, about businesses and cyber-security. There were two speakers – one from ANZ and the other from Telstra – who gave relatively quick and light talks about cyber-security and what the constant threat of attacks means for businesses. The journalist I was with told me we very well may not get a story out of this, but to listen out and see if we could find one. I was surprised at how light and vague the talks were (one was a twenty-minute talk saying that people need to collaborate better. Great! No info on how or specific ways, though), but as it was a sit-down lunch for the paying guests, the journos were given a (very nice) lunch as well! I took a few notes throughout the event in case we did need to write a story up on it. My first real reporter’s notebook!

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I found it interesting to see what made the news and what didn’t. It was common sense, and the journalist and editor made the decision following the lunch in a phone call, where they decided it didn’t offer anything really new or useful to readers.

Arriving back in the Sydney newsroom, I stayed shadowing the same journalist who showed me how the AAP journalists actually wrote copy (they use a program first used in 1998, but are changing this week! They are quite proud of that.) and finding information, in this case, for the closing wrap of the stock markets. I got put on a hot-desk and could see what all the journalists were publishing and how they were edited, etc. My first newsroom computer and phone! (Yes, this was a day of firsts..!)IMG_8059

After this, I headed back to the Rhodes office where I debriefed with the editor and said goodbye to a few other people. I learnt so much today and it was a very rewarding experience to be able to have. I know I’ve been told quite a few times ‘get into another industry while you still have a chance; journalism is dead.’ But if this is what journalism is like, well, I’m afraid I’m hooked.

Anthony

Opinion: Why more Indigenous history in the school curriculum isn’t necessarily better

I’ve written a piece for the Sydney Morning Herald on the announcement by the NSW Board of Studies to include more Indigenous history in the curriculum. But is that necessarily a good thing?

“I can’t tell you how many history lessons I’ve had studying the unjust treatment of Aboriginal people when the first explorers from Europe came. But I also can’t tell you much about the Dreamtime, their social organisation or ceremonies. Which – you’d expect – is an important part of the Government’s curriculum looking at issues through Indigenous, Asian and sustainability perspectives.”

You can read my piece here, and let me know what you think in the comments below!

 

Being bilingual

Okay, so the title may be a little misleading: I’m not bilingual – yet. I got back from my trip to see family in France just last night, and while I was on the plane I had a lot of thinking time (I mean a lot – there’s not free wifi on Thai!). I’d been learning French for quite a while, since my mum’s side of the family lives in France. However, before this trip, I had not realised just how beneficial it actually is to be able to speak two or more languages.

There seem to be so many advantages: being able to live in other places – in this case, many areas of Europe, Canada and other French colonies, which also greatly widens job prospects, especially in the field of journalism, as well as speaking the official diplomatic language and sounding generally awesome when you add a few french words for extra ‘pizz-azz‘ to a sentence.

I started seriously learning French when I was in year 8. I had on and off lessons, while in primary school I had to learn Chinese… that didn’t end very well. I feel now I am on the cusp of the beautiful language suddenly ‘clicking’ for me. But I’m not quite there yet. I’m finally learning my verb tables inside out and understanding the grammar side to it (but thank goodness we don’t speak French, learning English – it’s such a complicated language).

I really want to keep up learning and improving how I learn French. I believe this trip did me the world of good in recognising what I actually know, while being able to put it in to practice (deux baguette, s’il vous plaît!) as well as learning new words and better understanding the general culture.

I’m committed to learning French and it excites me about where it can lead me!

Do you study another language, or are you fluent? Do you see any benefits to it? Comment below or tweet me @anthonysegaert.