The Reluctant Journalist

August 25, 2010 in On Writing, Study by pacejmiller

I’ve been a little quiet on the posting front lately because I’ve been shitting bricks about my writing course.  One of my subjects involves writing features, which involves actual human interaction in calling people and going out for face-to-face interviews.  It’s essentially a journalism subject (but they allow us lowly writer students to do it too) that aims to produce publishable work.  Great experience, though frightening for those with no experience (like me).

Anyway, the first assessment is due in a couple of weeks I’m doing a piece on mobile speed cameras.  And it’s a “feature”, so it’s more than just gathering a bunch of stats and figures and piecing them together.  I need to add what my lecturer calls “colour” to it.  A “human element”, she said, which is difficult considering my subject is machines.

And so I tried to see if there was anyone out there that has recently received a speeding fine.  Apart from the usual avenues (asking friends, Facebook call out, etc), I signed up for a few online forums where people discuss cars, motorbikes, and driving in general.  Five, of them, in fact.  I posted a friendly query at around 9am and rubbed my hands, waiting for the responses to flood in.

At around 5pm that afternoon, I went and checked the responses.  I got about 10 reply posts in total across all forums…and not ONE was helpful!  Instead, all I got were narky and sarcastic comments, and comments that made absolutely no sense.  Is this what our society has come down to?  Or was I looking for answers in the wrong place?  I mean, what did I expect from people who visit forums to talk about and post pictures of their cars and motorbikes?  During work hours?

Ahh…back to the drawing board.