4-word saddest story: Singapore journalists’ edition
Sorry, we couldn't help ourselves.
This one’s for you folks who slave morning through night chasing stories that get spiked:
We’ve all heard this one before.
Because at the very moment, you just happened to be the only one who didn’t look busy.
Because 5pm knock-off means 5pm knock-off. (YOU WILL NOT TAKE MY EVENING AWAY, PESKY JOURNALIST!) Meanwhile, story goes to shit because no response from government agency.
This does happen now and then, but it’s no less depressing — especially when you were actually near the story but didn’t realise it was happening.
Also, hear that? That’s the sound of your promotion and year-end bonus flying away.
6:55pm — Counting down the minutes right after filing your latest story.
7:01pm — kicking yourself for not leaving the office immediately after you finished it.
Oh, the space in the paper has been filled? Editor’s no longer interested in the story? WELL SCREW YOU I SPENT FIVE HOURS OVERTIME ON THIS, I’LL PUBLISH IT ON MY BLOG IF I HAVE TO.
Okay no, pretty please make room for my story please? I’ll settle for page 32 if I have to. PLEASE.
This is the worst, especially for big events with international media flown in. You can forget about getting a vaguely decent picture, or even being able to hear anything the newsmaker says at all. Prepare bulletproof helmet and vest for shelling upon return to expectant editor.
The second worst thing to happen — and it always occurs at the best possible times: when you’re with an important newsmaker one-on-one, in the middle of an exclusive interview, for instance.
Yeah, you can forget about coming back to speak to the guy after sprinting out to buy replacement batteries. Hope you can write fast, matey.
Riiiiight when you’re moments from leaving the office, you receive this alert on your phone. To adopt gamer speak for a second: gg no re kthxbye.
Oh, you have a family dinner/birthday celebration/hot date? Not anymore.
In case you forgot, this really did happen — the night before that fateful day the 3-hour PSI reading hit 401.
There is just no way to save your shots, and of course, no one (least of all your merciless editor) gives a damn that you, and your story, are screwed.
12. For photographers:
But obviously, by the time you review your shots on your camera, the subject has long since walked far, far away.
Another catastrophic situation, again which takes place at the best moments — always when you are writing furiously to keep up with a fast-talking newsmaker.
This, in all honesty, happens all too often for us reporters — especially when in court and we can’t record audio. That’s probably why most of us have learned (always over time, and always the hard way) to ensure we have at least four pens stashed into different pockets in our bags at any one time.
You’re well-placed the sooner you realise this might happen to attempt one of the following:
a) Write extra small, while praying you’ll be able to read it later
b) squeeze two lines into one, ditto above
c) yank out your phone and pray your thumbs move fast enough to write stuff down on the nearest Note app.
And finally, one of the worst things to happen to you while out on a field reporting assignment:
In this age, we send photos live from events via Twitter and post straight to our news agency’s Facebook page. We text key updates via WhatsApp in real time to our editors, who are back at the newsroom assembling the breaking news story. Once this happens, all goes to shit, and your presence on the ground is good for diddly squat.
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