Semester One Reflection

This page will consist of me mainly reflecting on university, work, life, etc.

For assessment two we had to write a reflection on hard news writing. I found this assessment difficult as it was my first time acting as a journalist. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and i can’t wait for what is ahead!

Here is the reflection:

When thinking of something to write a hard news story about many ideas came into mind. I looked online for news stories in Melbourne, Sydney and Australia and a few possibilities were thought of. I choose four stories that I thought I could write hard news on:

  1. The push to ban unvaccinated children from childcare centres.
  2. Same-sex marriage push in Barnaby Joyce’s seat of New England. Joyce is anti same sex marriage.
  3. How Australia is being screwed over its gas.
  4. The ARU’s upcoming decision on what Australian rugby team will be axed at seasons end.

I weighed up the positives and negatives of each option and spoke to my tutor about them. I want to pursue a career in sports journalism, so I decided to write my hard news on the Victorian rugby crisis. Living in Melbourne, I have been reading the newspapers saying the Rebels might be the team axed from the competition at seasons end. I found this newsworthy, as it is a current topic that is gathering heavy media attention and as an avid sports fan the repercussions are huge for Australian rugby. On the advice given to me by my tutor I tweaked the angle of the story from how it will affect Australian rugby to how it will affect Victorian professional, schoolboy and grassroots rugby. This will provide harder news as the story will focus on one particular area of the story.

To give some context to my story, in recent months the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has been in talks with South African, New Zealand, and Australian Rugby (SANZAAR) who are the governing body of Southern Hemisphere rugby over the possibility of an Australian Super Rugby team being cut at seasons end. This season the five Australian sides have performed extremely poorly with only seven wins out of thirty-one games.

I wanted to ensure that I represented the public sphere as diverse as many people have different opinions on what team should be cut. The Enlightenment theory allows freedom of opinion and speech, which I hope to integrate into my story. To inform, entertain and publicize the audience without presenting their own view is a journalist’s job and I feel I will do that.

When researching and writing this story I had to consider who my audience is? My audience is the junior rugby players and the Rebels nationwide fan base that love to play and watch rugby in Melbourne. To have the Rebels cut would be horrible for these kids and loyal supporters. The junior rugby players will not have the opportunity to go watch their idols every week. If the ARU decides that the Rebels time is up, these kids will most likely play a different sport on Saturday mornings. Rugby will quickly become less popular among junior players in Victoria.

Talks have been ongoing since early 2017, so writing this story was challenging as different news on the topic came out everyday. I had to stay on top of all the articles to make sure I wrote a factual story. With the assessment due on the 13th, the ARU’s decision will be announced the week after Easter so the timing of submitting the story has come at the right time.

When writing hard news story fairness, balance and accuracy are paramount. As this is my first attempt at hard news I used these three in my research and writing of the story. Objectivity I felt I showed in the article even with my own view on the topic. I will get better at showing these four characteristics as I continue my journalism course.

I have made a list of people that I will contact and try and get their thoughts on this issue including the Managing Director of the Rebels Andrew Cox, Elite Pathway’s Nic Henderson and a high level coach from one of Melbourne’s rugby schools. I contacted the Melbourne Rebels and got assigned to Media Manager Mr Chris Gottaas and asked him a few questions, which I received some great replies. I was very nervous when I was calling, as it was my first time ringing someone up as a student journalist. I remembered the advice given to us about being transparent, patient and persistent.

The day after I got into contact with Mr Robert Windle who is the ex 1st XV rugby coach at St. Kevin’s College, Melbourne from 2011-2015. Robert had some interesting comments on how the Rebels have improved the growth of rugby in Victoria at a grassroots and schoolboy level. Robert helped shape the story around my angle of the impact of the Rebels being cut will have on the schoolboy and grassroots rugby as he has been in schoolboy rugby for well over a decade now. Both sources gave me direct and indirect quotes, which I will use in my story.

As it happens, a source didn’t reply. Elite Pathways Nic Henderson did not respond to my email. I tried to get a hold of his phone number though had no success. I believe that my story would have been more enriched if I had interviewed Nic, as he controls the Elite pathways program, e.g. club and school rugby from under 12’s up to Melbourne Rebels elite development programs.

With the deadline quickly arriving its good to have all my sources, quotes finished. Now I’m working on putting it all together. Trying to write a hard news hasn’t been easy at all with the structure of the 300 words making it hard to try and be succinct. I have been using the inverted triangle theory with the most important news first. The readers should know what, who, when, why, how in the angle. Form follows function is one of the key rules in journalism and I believe I showed this in my story as the most important facts come first.

I wanted to clearly establish the state of Victorian rugby at this present stage and if the Rebels do get cut how it will affect all levels of rugby in Victoria. I have given it my best shot and I am happy with the story that I have produced.

Assessment Reflection



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