19 July 2016

Weekend? What's that?

I never thought the idea of spending a warm Sunday at an open-air festival would fill me with dread. Then came multi-magazine journalism training.

It was 3pm on the first Saturday of the course and I think most of us were looking anxiously towards a nice, pleasant, relaxing, sleep-filled Sunday, peppered with some leisurely writing and a dash of shorthand (crap pun, sorry).

Don't get me wrong, searching for strangers with an opinion on Westminster CCTV cameras was actually quite enlightening. Partly because we discovered an alternative to the climate change denier in green grocer Terry. CCTV denial, it turns out, is a sort of sister to its climate change equivalent when it comes to the old "not enough evidence" argument. Terry did not believe CCTV cameras existed in London because he'd never seen one in the 25 years he'd been selling greens.  Which, as an argument, is still a million times more convincing than this.

But anyway, having to frantically piece together 225 words in 20 minutes four times in one day does get a little tiring, as does speed-learning the wonderful but confusing language of shorthand, as do the countless re-writes of articles after you consistently get told they "need more work."

So a quiet Sunday, catching up on work was in order. Or so we blissfully, ignorantly, naively, very stupidly thought.

Until 3pm on Saturday, when Roberta informed us we wouldn't be surprised to hear there was more work to be given. We had to go to a festival the next day. And discover something newsworthy. Write another 225 words. Then find some more news on social media. Write another 200 words.

But actually, as with many other things in the course's first week, what initially sounded daunting was not that bad. Festivals are really rather fun, and I'm glad I was forced to walk about outside for an evening when I probably would otherwise have spent it stuck at my desk, wondering whether "ethically-driven" is a phrase Roberta will deem acceptable. (No, in case you were wondering).

Who needs sleep anyway?

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