I f*ked up.
The second day on experience at my local newspaper, I was called out to report on a first horrific and fatal crash. It was tough.
I was called in the middle of an interview for an inspiring story, the kind I had done before. I was feeling good and leapt at the chance. I caught a bus to the scene and interviewed witnesses and saw photos. Help was too late to save a driver’s life.
It was going to be a front page story.
But my writing was terrible. I wrote value judgments and odd sentences, the quotes were silly, and I let emotional attachment affect the copy.
And, I missed a BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS legal issue.
I got an A in my Essential Law exam, for god’s sake.
Oh, and adjectives in the first par a la the Reporting exam is bad journalistic practise.
I can take the red lines across my copy and I appreciate the feedback. I’m learning.
But what disappointed me was that I knew what I should have done.
It was part of the the NCTJ I passed last week.
It was the first story I submitted. I know it was unusually stupid. But it was the only copy the editor saw.
I look stupid from the start.
I learned a lot. I learned too much.
I started to doubt myself. I haven’t thought so much about journalism since, well, since I thought of it in the first place.
I was given another sensitive story to do. Every week is a new deadline.
And I am determined you will see it in the newspaper.