6:30am wake up, get ready feed my cat Nala (very important otherwise she will 'meow' the house down), procrastinate a little bit, and drink coffee as if I don't have to be anywhere anytime soon. Now it's 7:30am, … f**ck I better leave! An ecstasy of fumbling and gathering of things: bag, lunch, phone, I pod, purse, OYSTER CARD (can't forget that), and I'm out the house. Get to the office for 8:00am (always try to beat Paddy, but it never happens) Then it's time to try and cram and read as much of the newspapers as possible (just incase there is a sneaky news test around the corner.) And the days are filled with listening to Roberta's words of wisdom, news writing, interviewing, press conferences, more press conferences, news writing and then more news writing and a bunch of resubs in the evening. Just dandy.
It's true what Keith said in my interview, “from day one, you will be writing!” And by god has it been one week of constant writing like you.can.not.imagine! Forget the kind of writing you might have done at uni, news writing is a whole other level of concise writing that has to be “cut to the bone.”
I have found myself staying late in the evenings working on resubs with the company of my fellow PMA-ers also at their desks fighting against a 50 or 200 word count. One thing we all feel in common, our weekends and nights are definitely not what they used to be. Before, weekends were a time of leisure, parties, seeing friends and family, relaxing, zoning out from obligations. And now, it's all about cramming as much work as possible before Monday begins and the next load is placed on our shoulders. Oh and of course, lets not forget that when Roberta casually briefs us to find a news story on a Saturday afternoon and throws in it's due the next day … hell yes, say goodbye to your sunday!
It's amazing how much we have all accomplished in just a week. I didn't believe it when past PMA-ers told me you won't know how rewarding it is until you actually get in there and do it. They were right. Little by little the challenges I overcome give me a sense of empowerment and a strong belief that I too can be a Journalist.
I'm learning something new every day. Although it's intense, it's like that for a reason and as Roberta's words ring in my head: “You are better than internships, you are looking for a JOB.” The reality check kicks in pretty quickly. So this is what it's all about, our work gets rejected until it's progressing to publication standard. We learn shorthand 4 days in the morning so we can write with ease when interviewing people and getting the 'juicy' bits down. We are randomly quizzed on the news so we are aware of whats happening, however important or mundane – we should know! We get given spelling tests and face the shame of our atrocious spelling errors! We stop people on the streets and get them to talk to us by answering our questions about smartphones, air pollution and other briefs we are given. Some of us (including me) even sit at our desks to have lunch! So this is it kids …. this is the life of PMA-ers so far.
Im happy I have got through the first week as I'm sure all my fellow PMA-ers are too. It's been busy but I'm excited to see what we have to face next week. Even though, it sounds daunting and makes my stomach churn a little when thinking of all the new challenges in week 2; I can't help but think of all the new skills we will be learning. Skills that will get us all one step closer to getting a job in Journalism.
Charlie's vision of us all “all nine weeks from now, toasting our successes, as we sip champagne in leather bound arm chairs” sure does make me laugh and feel hopeful of the future. Although I do think it'll be a while before we get there. I'd like to think of Charlie's vision is one of victory, after the long and twisted journey that we have begun. But yes, (after loads more rejected stories), I'd like to think we will get there. Eventually...
Bring on week 2!
Over and out guys.