Work Experience: You’re Doing It Wrong


Kato recently wrote a blog about some terribly irritating student journo who did work experience at a newspaper and was basically horrified by all the terrible things the journos and editors and basically everyone said all the time.

Now I can imagine, if I were her, there probably would be a few times when even I would have had my indelicate sensibilities tested by some of the insensitive things newspaper types say but I have to agree with Le Kate and say “sometimes you just have to harden the fuck up”.

While we’re all like “fourth estate” and “keep the bastards honest” and shit, we’re still in the business of selling papers and I’ve learned very quickly that a picture of a hot chick accompanying your story means you get better placement on the pages. Fact.

And while we’re at it, we are in an office that deals with murder, rape, death, violence, scandal, disaster, fires etc Every Single Day. If non-journos with delicate sensibilities sat at one of our desks for a few hours I’m sure they’d be horrified at the chat that goes on. It doesn’t mean we’re not horrified and upset by shit that happens, but it’s our job to look at it and report it and ask the questions no one else wants to. And we talk about it.

Off-colour and possibly offensive chat happens in every workplace. If it’s super-offensive – and apart from a slight bit of sexual harassment, I haven’t come across it in my workplace – then I’d say something. Clearly our right-on student had a wee bit of an axe to grind and suffered from a potentially career-limiting sense of idealism and was in no position to tell someone to shut the fuck up. C’est la vie. I was scared to death during my work placement, especially as interns were given the Obituaries to do because clearly, no one else wanted to and it’s terribly awkward cold-calling grieving people, particularly when they don’t know the person is dead. Yes, that did actually happen.

After the Black Saturday bushfires I had to pull together a page on the victims – who they were, how they died and what friends and relatives were saying about them in online memorials. I managed to keep it together until I got home then I bawled my fucking eyes out. I’ve attended funerals of teenagers for work. I’ll let you make your own assessment of how super fun that is.

Hence the possibly slightly maybe callous-sounding goss that’s bandied about. Hell, you should hang out with pathologists. I studied forensic medicine for a bit and those guys have weeeeeird sense of humour. They have to. Funnily enough, seeing an actual post-mortem made me feel a bit better about if it ever happened to me. Back to a previous post, you really can make jokes about anything, providing you are taking the piss out of the CULTURE surrounding the thing, not the thing itself for shits and giggles.

Anyway, jumping off my high horse now and being slightly concerned I’ve spent a Saturday morning tapping out this stuff, I’m going to get a super-large flat white and ponder the important things in life like ‘what shall I have for lunch?’ and ‘how early is too early for wine?’. Laters.

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About ohhellwhatthehell

I like gin, mittens and otters, not necessarily in that order. Here's some stuff I felt like writing down when I'm not chained to a desk writing other things for a living. Please use caution when using this site; there may be sweary words, cute animals and general bullshit. Don't say I didn't fucking warn you.
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