Outback Journo:When the Networks Call

Apologies for not posting for a couple of weeks; it has been pretty hectic trying to navigate the journalistic world in Broken Hill.

For this post, I have to go back a few weeks. There have been some record rainfall in the three months since I’ve been in the Silver City. The drainage system is weird here; the streets will flood if the city gets heavy rain in a short amount of time.

Unfortunately, there was a tragedy that night. When I woke the next day, I was met with an email from the previous Spencer Gulf journalist. He said that the Chief Of Staff (COS) from 7 News Sydney, I was very excited and nervous. Five minutes after I read the email, I got a message from the 7 News COS, a man that I will call Dave; the job he wanted me to do was film footage of where the tragedy had taken place.

Channels 7 and 10 logos (source Wikipedia)

It was my light day (meaning I had to do only one news package), so I thought I had time to head out to where the incident happened. Since I was up early, I got on the road, but I encountered a problem. The incident occurred on Menindee road, 30km east of Broken Hill, and due to flooding, the road was closed. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I decided to get out and get some B roll footage.


While I was on the side of the road filming, I noticed that some cars had decided to ignore the roadblocks and go around. I thought about doing the same, so I gave my COS a ring to see if I should do it. She advised me not to, especially if it may get stuck in floodwaters.

I decided to go back to the office and call my police contacts about possible lining up an interview. While waiting for them to get back to me, an Adelaide number called my phone. I had a feeling that this would be another network ringing for some footage, and I was right. The journalist, let’s call him Joseph, with 10 News Adelaide, was after some footage; the problem was that he wanted footage of the flooding in the CBD and not the incident.

Since starting my job, I have learned that it is better to get wet weather footage as the storm is happening, not the next day. I promised Joseph that I would get him some footage. I jumped in my car and raced into the CBD in the hopes of getting Joseph some footage. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get much flood footage since it was the next day. I was lucky enough to get inside a business damaged by flooding.

The day was getting on; I decided to try my luck with the road closure again. This time it was open, so I started to head out to Menindee in the hopes of getting some footage that both channels 7 and 10 could use. I couldn’t find the incident scene after driving almost to Menindee, over an hour away from Broken Hill. I had to turn around and go back after pulling up on the side of the road and doing a top and tail for my news story.

After getting back to the office and gathering all the footage, I panicked. There wasn’t anything outstanding that the two news companies could use. I sent some footage to 10 news Adelaide but didn’t send anything to channel 7, as the scene had been cleaned up, and some random footage of the road and some water by in wouldn’t cut it.

Since I live in Broken Hill, we get the same TV stations as Adelaide. I purposely didn’t watch that bulletin as I would have seen how badly I choked, and I did enough of that when I played rugby league.

Here is that night’s bulletin for those interested:

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