‘Long time, no see’; or, ‘Game, set, degree’

Makeshift press box at Felixstowe LTC

Makeshift press box at Felixstowe LTC

Can I use the excuse for not writing anything recently that I’ve been hard at work completing my dissertation? Obviously not all the time since April 10, but from then until May 1 (two days before the deadline) and since then I’ve been doing… well, just stuff really. Some of it’s been productive I guess. Technically I now have a job, so it must all have been worthwhile.

I say “have a job” but in fact it’s regular freelance work from the two Archant papers in Ipswich (East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star). Having been on work placements with the sports desk I speculatively dropped editor Mark Heath an email to enquire if he had any jobs about to come up. Not at the moment was the answer, but he did offer me the chance to cover tennis tournaments for the papers over the summer. I jumped at the chance to dive straight into some paid, professional journalism work (despite jumping and diving being slightly different actions – over a decade of swimming has taught me that much).

So at the end of May and for the last two weeks I’ve been paid to watch and write about tennis. Thoroughly enjoyable stuff, but not all sitting back in a press box with strawberries and cream. I’ve already had experience of the so-called ‘unsociable hours’ journalists work, though not to the extremes of doing night shifts. The worst I’ve had is weekends and early evenings up to about 7pm. I have had the adrenaline rush of trying to file copy on time though.

One tournament, at Frinton-on-Sea, didn’t finish play on each day until just after 6pm, with my copy needing to be in at 7pm. Cue writing quickly yet accurately, finding I was unable to get any sort of internet access, then hurriedly driving to the nearest McDonalds to use their free wi-fi. It’s not quite bungee jumping, but it’s still fun. I could think of worse ways to make a living.

One final point I’d like to make in this post, on the quiet. Nevertheless it’s quite important. What did I graduate with? Well, along with all of my NCTJ preliminary exams, which includes 100wpm shorthand, I now have a first class degree.

I thank you.


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