What did studying Broadcast Journalism at university teach me? (Other than the obvious, that is.)
1. Headphone hair is inevitable. You won’t have neat hair from the moment you step into the newsroom until the moment you leave. Every day consisted of running to the toilets before I went home to brush the bird’s nest that was my barnet.
2. Audio editing isn’t nearly as daunting as it seems. Before I started studying Broadcast Journalism, I’d done very little radio, no TV, and I’d only edited audio a couple of times. Looking at a waveform (the squiggly wave things) seemed quite scary at first, but it becomes easier really quickly.
3. You’ll never watch TV or listen to radio in the same way ever again. It’s a sad fact of life that you’ll never be able to listen to the radio without criticising/deeply admiring the way that reporter put that package together. You’ll never be able to watch a TV news broadcast without criticising the running order or the way they messed up during that two-way. You’ll never, ever look at TV and radio again without analysing every detail.
4. There’s so much to learn – and it continues into your career. After leaving uni, the learning never stops; whether it’s getting to grips with different audio editing systems, new terms that have never been mentioned to you before, or even dealing with the social media aspect of broadcasting – there’s always something new to learn. You’ll always end up being thrown in at the deep end too.
5. You start automatically going into your ‘radio voice’ without even noticing. Unfortunately, other people do notice, and remark on it. (I can’t help it, guys!)
6. People will ALWAYS mistake you for a print journalist. If I had a pound for every time somebody asked ‘Ooh, a journalist! Which newspaper do you write for?’ I’d be very rich indeed. Don’t mix us up, it’s a bit annoying.
7. Some people just hate everyone in the profession. No, I’d never dream of hacking your phone, but don’t let that stop you from automatically judging me as inherently evil. Since the phone hacking scandal, the whole profession has been given a bad name, and unfortunately some people can’t differentiate between a small group of bad people, and the rest of us.
8. Running around like a headless chicken is the norm. Newsdays = No lunch break or little time for lunch, running around chasing stories, filming, recording, editing, scripting, rehearsing, helping people who’re struggling to keep up with the pace, and going home utterly exhausted; only to face the same again tomorrow.
9. Interviewees will mess you around. Especially if you say you’re a student journalist. A lot of interviewees won’t be keen on speaking to you, because there’s no publicity in it for them. Some might drop out at the last minute, so always have at least one back-up story.
10. People will assume it’s easy. These people have absolutely no experience of journalism, and they also have no clue how much work reporters have to do. It’s a lot harder than it looks.
Despite all the above, it’s fun! It is genuinely hard work, but enjoyable!