Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 4

Thursday, 8th January
This morning I was fortunate to be able to tag along to one of the many Town of Pt Hedland council meetings. Very good opportunityto pick up some polished interviewing skills!...

...Discussed events occurring in the town, upcoming events and issues that have been brought up by various bodies.

Meanwhile, our partner in crime, Claire, went on a tour at the Rio salt mines. Lucky, lucky.

We then headed back to CUCRH to continue the big chase for whatever stories we could grab onto, only to be faced with the usual obstacles. If there's one thing I hate most about being a journo, it's the whole waiting around thing. When you're trying so hard to meet deadlines, there's nothing worse than being held up by someone you're suppose to be interviewing! Sometimes I feel as though they deliberately make you wait - as if they know I'm impatient as it is.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day 3

Wednesday 7th January

Woke up almost 2 whole hours earlier than I did yesterday and yes, now I can definately conclude that there's no escaping this heat. No matter what time of day it is - it's hot, hot, hot!This morning we were on a mission to catch a glimpse of the turtles hatching out of their eggs and making their way to the big blue sea.

In the past I have watched a couple of documentaries about turtles but never really realised how viscious their fight for survival is. It's a ridiculous rate - something like 1 in 1000 that actually make it home safely.

We met a number of volunteers who dedicate their time each morning to ensuring these babies aren't under any extra pressure (observers coming too close, other animals etc)

After straining our eyes across practically the entire beach where hundreds of nests existed, we finally spotted a baby turtle and out came the cameras. Flashes are not permitted around the turtles because it severely disrupts them to the point where they become completely disorientated, so just as well we remembered that one!

It was a little disappointing that the majority of the hatchlings died, and even more disappointing was watching the only survivor of that nest making it's way to shark infested waters! How harsh nature can be.

But we soon learned that during the night, two wondering dogs had actually dug up the nests. Thankfully they were caught by the ranger.

According to Pt Hedland's Tourism and Visitor Centre, four turtles in total made it to the ocean. Now you can see what I mean about the whole survival rate issue!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 2

We headed down to the North West Telegraph news office where I was expecting to see a heap of journo's working up a sweat, making phone calls, typing up articles and about 10 coffee cups on each desk etc. I guess I'll have to admit that's the stereotypical vision of any newsroom (or maybe just mine).....not the case in Hedland of course!
And by no means am I saying that there appeared to be anything BUT hard work going on. In fact, I find it remarkable that two journalists can put together a 40 plus page newspaper of quality standard each week - especially in a small place like Pt Hedland. If the challenge was ever thrown in my direction one day, I can only hope to be able to manage as well as these blokes do.

We discovered just how difficult it can be to come up with a sufficient number of stories each week in a small town, particularly during a quiet period like now (the Christmas holidays when many people tend to go away).
I also noted what they were saying about surviving as a journalist in a country town and the importance of being mindful of who supports you. Have to remeber that one!

Before leaving the office, we were assigned to head down to Cemetery Beach just after 6am to get a few nice shots of the baby turtles hatching. Can't wait! Not for the early rise part though.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 1

After struggling to wake up this morning (I'm blaming it on this ridiculous heat!), we set off to meet with Sister Joany who will be guiding us through the radio project we've been assigned during our time here.

I soon learned that she isn't just your average local; Sister Joany carries with her vast knowledge about the town, its history and its significance. I remember being a little ignorant at times when studying history in highschool, it wasn't exactly my favourite subject which explains why I never knew Pt Hedland was attacked during WWII. In 1942, two Japanese air raids caused major damage to the airfield. Amazing!
We continued our discussion and visited a range of topics about the town of Pt Hedland and a great deal of significant information (or advice rather) which will be of great use on our behalf as "non-locals".
I took a few moments to consider what we were discussing and began to realise just how many factors can contribute to lifestyle. I suppose it would be much more challenging for someone (much like myself) to leave the "city life" and move here to live. There are just so many things us city-dwellers take for granted; it's unbelievable.

Joan then took us on a tour of the studios of 101.3FM which is Pt Hedland's official community radio station. Arriving at the venue was a bit of a shock to me - honestly I thought we were just taking a scenic tour and passing by a couple of mini-sheds secluded in a car park. But when we stepped inside, wow! It was amazing. Everything was set up formerly like any other radio station I've seen. Very modern equipment and up-to-date facilities. Airconditioning at full-blast and the operating panel set up on the main desk; perfect working conditions. Oh and not to mention a diverse selection of music...very important for me!
We were then introduced to Wayne and Adrian who are in charge of everything to do with 101.3FM. A discussion on the codes of practice and broadcasting rights was also very handy as a quick know for those 'just-in-case' moments.

Looking forward to starting work on our project which is titled "What Does it Take...?" and already some ideas have formed between the three of us which, I must say, is an excellent indication - the heat won't affect brain function!!! Haha.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Arriving in Pt Hedland

Sunday afternoon, roughly after 12pm and I was soaking in water. Unfortunately, it wasn't the waters of the beautiful Secret Harbour beach that I'm use to; I'm talking sweat! Highly attractive, yes. So this is what people were calling me crazy for when I mentioned I was coming here. I haven't visited Pt Hedland since March of 2004 when Cyclone Monty lingered along the coast of the Pilbara region, but I can assure you there is no way I've missed the extreme semi-arid temperatures along with a high humidity percentage of almost 80 (on some days).

Pt Hedland itself isn't a very big town. In fact, it's hard to believe this town is home to approximately 15, 000 people. You walk out along the streets and hardly anybody is in sight! The lifestyle here in comparison to the lifestyle of the city dwellers is completely different. I've already mentioned some of the horrors of living in the semi-arid region of Western Australia, but along with the heat and the sweating dilemma, geography is another factor. I think it's more the isolation factor for me. It's a mining town so many people here are working on a fly-in fly-out basis. The gender ratio is probably 90% male or something ridiculous like that!
No, no, it's not that bad.

Looking forward to starting my work experience as a journalist for the next 3 weeks!