While tourists and musical-goers flock around Picadilly Circus, I’m writing this amongst the rattles of the number 12 “devil bus” on an hour long ride home. Home not being some far-flung commuter town, but South East London.
Since I’ve started the reverse commute to Brighton everyday to help out on Journalism.co.uk’s news desk, long periods of my day consisting solely of sitting on, or waiting for, public transport have become rather familiar.
Not that I’m complaining.
Whilst the website – as the URL would suggest, it’s one of the top media news, jobs and blog sites – scouts the best of fresh journalist talent to fill their vacancy, I’m stepping in and learning plenty to wash away the January blues.
It’s a great opportunity, a steep learning curve and my first paid journalism job. And it’s totally worth the four hours a day I spend on buses and trains.
Two days in and I’ve collected more by-lines than I used to achieve section-editing my weekly student newspaper.
It’s invigorating to be part of a newsroom entirely for, and entirely dependent on, the internet – albeit frustrating when the power goes down for two hours. My previous, relatively limited news desk experience taught me about the importance of word counts, NIBs and dealing with PR. All essential basics, but with online news everything is even more instant – typing into WordPress allows you to see your words in online ‘press’ mere seconds before the rest of the world can find them through Google.
I’m hunting out the latest stories from trending Twitter topic and blog posts – for the old school hacks it may not seem like sniffing out the latest from your patch or finding a lead in person, but the beauty of online journalism and reporting on it is that everything is at your fingertips and if the competition has got there first, it’s clear for you to see.
I’m not going to come out the other end writing birthday cards in short hand – indeed, what I’m really learning from all this, other than the order of the stations between London Bridge and Brighton, will become apparent once it’s over. However, even for a softy magazine Maverick like myself, there’s no denying the exhilaration that getting a scoop, no matter how large, can produce.
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After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look