How Do You Get There?
I’ve been on more stories in my life than I can keep count, and I would say getting there and finding the right people at the right address at the right time is often the biggest challenge. I think that’s why I am always grateful to have someone else along with me who is better at directions. (Just ask all of the photographers at Channel 2)
But working in Dublin I got the best directions I’ve ever had from a news editor. I’d been working in the newsroom at Newstalk for nearly a week, mostly rewriting wire copy and offering to help out with other rewrites. I think they really just didn’t know what to do with me. And when I heard the commotion about not having someone to send to something happening at City Hall, of course I volunteered to go myself. They were all kind of shocked wondering if I could be trusted to get the story and get back, I guess. But after a few minutes of discussion, the editor said, “Erin, we need you to go to City Hall for us and be our eyes and ears.”
“You got it boss,” I said as anxious as a twenty-year-old on their very first story ever.
“Do you know where City Hall is?” he asked.
“No,” I said. “But I can find it. Can I walk there from here?”
“Yeah, yeah you can,” he replied. “Write this down now. Do you know where the Radisson is? Head for that hotel but before you get there look for a cobbled street to the right. It’s the last street that’s not proper before you get to the hotel.
Take it down and around the castle and up the hill.
At the top of the hill look for Christ Church Cathedral. You can’t miss that. It’s huge.
Go around the cathedral into the stone alleyway and there’s a door into the back of Dublin City Hall. Go in, look for this room and act like you’re supposed to be there. We need interviews with these three people and then just listen to see if they make any decisions on a plan to make College Green a pedestrian way removing all of the traffic. Go!”
Now are those cool directions or what? I ask you. Find the cobblestone street, go around the castle into the alley. What a cool way to spend the day. So, off I went on my little treasure hunt. Of course I found the street, the castle (who can miss Dublin Castle?) the cathedral and the backdoor. And of course I got them all of the interviews they needed and all of the information they needed. And when I got back I got down to work and filed the story in the hour. Phew!
And when one of the other editors asked how I’d gotten on, could I write it up for them, I was able to say, “Did it. There are three versions of it in the cue.”
And what a payoff to see his face and to realise that’s just what I had to do, to prove myself.