Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Week in the life ….

I thought it about time that I actually described what I do on a day-to-day basis. Whilst trying to find a pattern in my life is increasingly hard there is some logic behind the randomness.

In a silly sort of way, my week starts not on Monday but on a Saturday. So much of what I do is reacting to events before they happen rather than afterwards. Saturday morning is, in theory, Shopping and washing though both of these things get shoved out the way to Saturday evening or indeed the following Wednesday! The weekend is the time where I have to come up with stories for the following week. This involves reading hundreds of copies of the newspapers, speaking to people at church and just looking around me. This is also the time to prepare for seminars and tests. The regular law tests are great fun (sarcasm does not work well when written) but a necessary part of my training. At the moment we are working on libel. Whilst you might think that as a broadcast journalist I would risk committing slander (in that any false accusation would be spoken), in fact a 1953 law means that actually it’s libel. Oh I have an interesting life…

Sunday morning comes and it’s Church. I’m currently going to St. John’s in Ranmoor. It is a very traditional church with good choral music but lacks some of the atmosphere of Coventry Cathedral. However, I am increasingly feeling part of the worship there and find the teaching of a good standard. It is a fairly inclusive church. Sunday afternoon is more preparation and perhaps a little rest with the Sunday papers!

Monday morning arrives and the first half of my week starts. The week really seems to divide into two sections. Monday to Wednesday are the theoretical side whilst Thursday and Friday the more practical. The theory involves my four key modules:
1. Law has two or three hours of lectures a week plus a weekly Workshop. The lectures are rather dry but nicely backed up with real examples and journalists’ work and the workshops involve trying to work out what to do in a certain scenarios where common sense rather precise legal knowledge win the day. This is assessed by regular tests, a university exam in January and the national law exam which I need to take to work in the UK.
2. Ethics Lectures are one hour a week (dry and lack real utility) and there is a fortnightly seminar (which I should remember to take a duvet to). This is assessed by essays, the first of which was submitted in January and the next is due in January.
3. Researching News has two sessions a week: a lecture (again fairly common sense but some interesting sources) and workshops. The workshops involve doing mock interviews with a tutor and then writing up a story. Quite interesting but you have to remember to ask obscure questions! This is assed by another mock interview (worth 20% - mine’s this Wednesday) and a selection of six stories from my patch (due for the end of term on 17th December).
4. Broadcast news. This involves a rolling programme of lectures, seminars, technical workshops and news days (where we run are journalists for the day). Monday is lectures and seminars.
In addition, the first half of the week includes guest lecture slots for any visiting journalists and any meetings I may have for the Student/Staff Postgraduate liaison committee (on which I am one of the two Post-grad reps for the broadcast journalism course) and the Journalism School Teaching Academic Committee (on which I am the Post-grad rep).

Come Thursday and Friday, come the practical. This may involve researching the patch, doing a TV interview, writing radio reports, days spent editing video tapes or news days. All this and more …Last Friday was our first news day and we put bulletins out on the hour every hour. I covered a story about a new church organ (a short interview clip and a full report) and Blair’s speech on Education (two interviews and five different reports). The speed at which you had to re-write stuff and that news went old was a surprise. It was very exciting (particularly just suddenly have to re-write a story) and I enjoyed dealing with ‘real’ people, telephoning around to find people to interview. The technology is now becoming second nature – though glitches occur – and the actual journalism is slowly improving. I was even complemented for my style by two different tutors …

In between the work, I am getting more involved with what is happening in Sheffield. I sing in the University Singer’s Society which is a good-sized choir attracting people of all standards. This offers more opportunities to sing than I can ever hope to fulfil. I am also playing flute in the University Concert Band and have taken to waving my arms at them. They are not that good and their ‘can’t do attitude’ (which stems from their apathetic president) drives me mad. With a little commitment and focus, they would be impressive. I have also joined a small group which meets every couple of weeks and have been on the occasional night out. As for love life … well we’ll see.

Sheffield is a beautiful place and the way it is surrounded by hills reminds me of my beloved Grenoble. The twinkling night lights when I walk from the tram are fantastic. Indeed, the temperature reminds me of Grenoble. For the last couple of weeks it has barely got above freezing and the frost is like snow. Beautiful but chilly. The cold snap seemed to start here sooner than anywhere else. Indeed, when Bro came up here, he insisted I bought a new electric radiator. I thought he was over-reacting but I now love it dearly.

In conclusion, life is good. By the time Friday arrives I am shattered but exhilarated. Journalism is a fantastic life and I look forward to doing it for real, despite its pitfalls and bad pay. News is a tiring, never-ending cycle and when Monday arrives you have to be ready to hit the ground running and prepared to change at a second’s notice! T Some would hate that. I love it.

So, I’m off. I need to start jogging, just to keep up!



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