Red lines across my copy

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.


One thought on “Red lines across my copy

  1. First of congratulations on passing your exam and for getting out there and doing what you’ve been dreaming of doing for so long. Everyone makes mistakes and forgets key things in the heat of the moment and when trying to meet a deadline. Just do your best (as I know you are) to learn from them. I’m doing a new role at the moment and have been making mistakes and getting red pen over my work but that’s as it should be. In time you’ll be dishing out the red pen. x

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