What’s live reporting really like? Young Post cadet finds out!

By YP cadet Lola Wong

When you pick up your copy of Young Post, it's almost always perfectly put together, but it takes a lot to get it looking that way, as YP cadet Lola Wong found out

By YP cadet Lola Wong |

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I always read the newspaper on my way to school, and throw it away without a second thought once I'm finished. I had no idea how much effort goes into every word that makes it to the page. The cadet programme at Young Post showed me how difficult, yet fulfilling, being a journalist can be.

Ironically, I found out how hard being a journalist is at Ocean Park. I was there for a news story about the panda, Jia Jia, the mother-of-four who is turning 37 this year. She had also broken two Guinness World Records for being the oldest living panda under human care and the oldest panda ever under human care.

Ocean Park threw a huge party to celebrate the special achievements, and invited important guests like Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and a few local celebrities.

I was there for Young Post to cover the news, and it was a massive challenge. During the ceremony, the guests took turns to give speeches. I was sitting among the crowd of journalists who were either busy scribbling down notes or recording the speeches with their phones.

So I, too, started jotting down useful information in ugly handwriting, and that's when I realised what it's really like to be a journalist.

Everything happens within seconds, and you have to be alert and observe everything that's going on to make sure you don't miss any key details. You have to become the eyes and ears of your readers, to make sure you are giving them news that is both original and thorough.

After the ceremony, the journalists attended a press conference where they asked questions, such as how Jia Jia had managed to live such a long life. Seeing an important person speaking into a bunch of microphones at a press conference is something I have seen plenty of times on TV, but at Ocean Park I got to see it in reality.

There was a tent set up in front of the microphones for the journalists and cameramen, and it was hectic. A bunch of cameramen were standing at the back of the tent facing the stand with their equipment set up, shouting to the journalists at the front not to block their view. Journalists really have a rough time when they are reporting the news. There were almost 100 people crammed into that small tent. It was more crowded than the MTR at rush hour.

I was sandwiched between two eager journalists, who were taking notes furiously while one of the guests was speaking. I tried my best to jot down every single detail, but it wasn't easy while squatting (so as to not block the cameras) and trying to keep my balance.

So there I was on one of the hottest days of summer, packed into a small area with professional journalists, sweat dribbling down our foreheads and with a common goal; to get the story. As secondary school work experience goes, it was as cool as they come.

The questions that journalists asked during the press conference were inspiring. They were in-depth and sharp, and very much to the point. I wonder how many years of training it takes for a journalist to find an interesting angle for every single news story and to write a "piece" that not only informs readers, but also interests them.

I cannot emphasise enough how much I learned that day about hard work and commitment.

Looking at the journalists putting all their effort into a single story really got me thinking ... maybe I can do this when I grow up!

I learned so much from my time at Young Post. I realised that being a journalist is a very tough job, but it is also a very rewarding career. You can work very independently as a journalist, and it's satisfying to see your stories and ideas in print.