This Reflective Essay was written in October 2006 and refers to my previous blogs Evaluation (https://julieannellis.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/evaluation.pdf) and Tattu TV (http://julie-annellis.com/2012/12/05/tattu-tv-2006/).
As a student journalist in my first job placement, I will discuss the role as researcher for tattu.tv – a television program (Briz 31, Wednesday, 8.30 pm & Sunday 3.30 pm) that aims to promote Brisbane’s emerging performing artists. While learning progressively throughout the previous five months, I created the position of researcher for the gig guides myself.
Journalists and other media professionals face the challenge of adapting to the skill requirements of the new technologies while maintaining or improving their professional and ethical values. (Henningham 2000: 295)
The position as researcher required me to gather a great deal of information, and I usually spent a large amount of time on the internet. Generally, websites were checked to confirm the information I previously gathered from other sources. I progressed in my internet capabilities and became quite efficient in retrieving information of any kind, but specifically current events in Brisbane.
White (1996: 59) confirms, “The art of basic news research is knowing where to find the information you need – quickly.”
In addition to the the internet, I collected information from sources such as; billboards located in Brisbane City and The Valley, pamphlets from the Brisbane City Council Tourist Information located in the Brisbane City Mall, pamphlets and street press mags from music stores and cafes around the Brisbane metropolitan region, information was also collected from newspapers such as The Courier Mail and The Wynnum Herald. In short, I targeted material that may have advertised events in Brisbane.
Whilst undertaking the skills required of my role, I was aware of the professional and ethical values of a journalist and endeavored to put them into practice. When I communicated with people through the internet, face to face or on the telephone, I portrayed myself in a positive manner and always carried out my tasks professionally. the skills involved while carrying out the above tasks were: basic manners, asking relevant questions, listening, note taking and checking that all facts were correct.
Furthermore, it was essential that I was concious of the MEAA/AJA Code of Ethics (Tanner 2005: 35), – not just in my internet use but throughout the entire conduct of my role in the position hed at tattu.tv and beyond, in my journalistic career.
Tanner et. al. (Tanner 2005: 2) reiterates;
Ethics is not an optional add-on to the practice of journalism, but actually underpins that practice. Whether journalists ultimately opt to act ethically or not, they will nevertheless wrestle daily with their consciences in deciding what path to follow about the rights and wrongs of what they are doing. This is because journalists are not independent operators. They serve a variety of masters ranging from the general public to, more immediately, their editorial supervisors and the company they work for.
The information I gathered then had to be sorted, any event over a week and a half away was to be used. It was necessary that the events I chose for the gig guides were colorful and diverse in nature, for example, The Guide (music) – a jazz gig, a pop gig, a punk gig, a rock gig, a music festival, etc. Even if I had heard of the band (event and so on), I still needed to check that they were in fact from Brisbane, or at least from Australian and not too “mainstream” so that it was in keeping with the cultural direction of the program.
The database I created, consisted of; three word documents (Music, Arts, and All-Ages); each of these were divided into sub sections – dates (e.g., Episode 18 – events between 2nd and 8th of November) , each date corresponded with the airing of the program. Firstly, I collated the information and placed it into the relevant sub-headings (Music, Arts, and All-Ages) and secondly, the information was placed into the relevant date sub-headings. After I had put all of the information I gathered – from the last week – into the database, I cut and pasted it into a new document that could be passed on to the rest of the crew, along with the script.
The new document of the gig guides was primarily a table; if had two columns; the rights side of the table was sub-divided into What, When, Where, Wallet (cost), Website information, and the left side of the table was for the script. It was presented clearly and concisely which allowed for easier reading by all staff. Additionally, I continued this role after the university semester was completed.
Compared with traditional paper chases, the ease and speed of electronic access to documents is astonishing. In the past, reporters may have faced a veritable ware hows full of pages of paper-based information whose sheer volume deterred serious probing. But databases, keywords searches, and cross-referencing assist journalists not only in quickly gathering information but also in interpreting what it means. (Conley & Lamble 2006: 348)
I have been with tattu.tv since June this year (2006) and that time I have created my own position within the organisation. Within the role as researcher, I established the routine task of organisation carried out and each week, I have been expected to do so, independently and resourcefully. Indeed, the role I played and tasks I carried out at tattu.tv varied greatly from week to week. i enjoyed this variety; I saw them as an opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills while learning a new area of the television industry.
My attitude of being never afraid to ask a question, enabled me to pick up other tasks with relative ease and I often helped direct or produce segments for tattu.tv. I was willing to do or learn anything that would aid in my contribution to the organisation (as well as my own knowledge and experience). The various tasks I performed, were: researcher, scriptwriter, runner, interviewer, audio, secretary and liaison.
I have noted that toward the end of the period with tattu.tv, my colleagues demonstrated their confidence in myself by deferring to my opinion on a number of occasions. I am a team player and enjoyed the responsibility of making significant decisions while maintaining the ethical standards expected. I learnt many valuable practical skills through this position and am absolutely thrilled and grateful for the opportunity.
Conley, David & Stephen Lamble. (2006), The Daily Miracle: An introduction to Journalism. Oxford University Press: South Melbourne, Victoria.
Henningham, John. ed. (2000), Institutions in Australian Society. Oxford University Press: South Melbourne, Victoria.
Tanner, Stephen. (2005), Journalism Ethics at Work. Pearson Education Australia: Frenchs Forest, New South Wales.
White, Sally. (1996), Reporting in Australia. macMillan Education Australia Pty Ltd: South Yarra, victoria.