I have had some interesting advice of late when it comes to my reporting.
“Never be afraid of a rubbish bin”
“The follow up is often better than breaking the story”
“Never be afraid to ask the dumb question, sometimes you get the best quotes”
“This industry is hard, but if you’re competitive and don’t give up, you can do it.”
The first is by far my favorite.
Each year there is this thing that the local polytechnic puts on called a ‘Press Club’ where industry professionals come down to mix and mingle over a lunch with the journalism students, and there is a guest speaker.
Now that I am one of those industry professionals and no longer a student, my fear of chatting to people who are considered ‘someone’ have gone out the window. Of course that is because I no longer desperately need them to notice me to one day get a job, and two because I’ve realised they are normal human beings.
The first piece of advice was from a well-respected investigative reporter for the country’s leading paper. It is perhaps to date one of the strangest conversations I have ever had with a journalist. He also told me that reporters get too precious about things like rummaging around a trash can to find the story. He then told me of a time that a person had left the buildings but “the skip was still there” and he found the piece of evidence needed to produce a very epic story.
While I have no desire to go hunting through the Mayors trash can anytime soon… and I have come to a realisation that I am probably too polite to be an investigative reporter, this piece of advice can be applied to many things.
Don’t get too precious, don’t be afraid to do the things others wont.
Get your hands dirty, get in, do it, and you will be surprised what you find.
Never be afraid of a trash can is now one of my life mottos.
Do not be afraid of the things that look awful. Get over it. And stop thinking about it.
Of course, when telling my mother this, she told me to wear gloved due to the awful diseases in trash cans… fair point. I may carry around latex gloves in my purse if an occasion as such ever does arise.