*As part of the in-depth research project, one of the requirements of the BA Honours in Journalism and Media Studies degree at Wits University, students are required to write daily blog entries to show the progress of their projects. This year the theme is Yeoville and students have to take on a topic that tells a story that is Yeoville specific.
I spent the past week helping my teammates get footage for their projects. Even though my project was complete, watching people scramble to do last minute work had me in panic mode. I kept second guessing whether I had enough footage, or if my final draft was good enough.
It reached the point where Percy and Lutho had to tell me to calm down. Tensions flared, we used abusive language. Lutho referred to us as her “bitches”. I was forced to watch her take pictures, I can understand having to help with sound for video, but watching someone take pictures is painful when you have your own deadlines to stress about (or in my case stressing about deadlines I already met, weird).
The sarcastic comments kept rolling and I think I may or may not have called a kid who ran into my equipment a “little shit”. (Since becoming a journalist, my vocabulary now includes colourful newsroom profanity. My parents would be disappointed).
Also, Luca took me to some dingy block of flats to meet one of his subjects. He told me he was scared to go alone. I don’t know how my being there made a difference, I don’t know any karate moves.
I think my highlight was working with Percy’s subject, a designer from Nigeria. He puts the “I” in Diva. Lutho had to keep giving him pep talks, to build his confidence. He’s a perfectionist so he didn’t want the footage we got to tarnish his “brand”. He kept withdrawing and we had to keep convincing him it’s a school project. It really taught us to change our approach when working with different people. The “people” business is not easy. In fact, Percy has sworn off going to Yeoville ever again.
One of the interesting things we saw in Yeoville yesterday was a police raid on Rockey street. People abandoned their shops. Apparently police were checking for papers.
We also heard it was a drug bust, they were wearing those kitchen gloves, like something from CSI. Luke from the Transitions team got a whole scoop because his topic is the transition of Rockey Street. he also managed to take some dramatic pictures of people being slammed against walls. As Murphy’s Law would have it, we obviously got there when the drama dissipated, so no action shots for us.
Later, as we were saying goodbye to one of Lutho’s subjects, he shared a few wise words. Firstly, that I shouldn’t get tired of school and quit, and if I have the opportunity to learn I should make the most of it. He also told me to “relax more” when I work with people. I guess I have a permanent frantic look on my face. Numerous times people asked me if I was alright. Lutho also commented that she heard that question posed to me, too frequently. I guess my resting face is “PANIC”.
Coffee is to a journalist what heroine is to a junkie.
Not doing work stresses me out more than doing work (I’m starting to think I’m a workaholic). I actually took the day off on Wednesday, but really I still worked to feel better. I finished my infographic and I’m pleased with it, I used some of the tips we got from our new and social media lecturer for our work on the “10 years Wits Vuvuzela infographic” . I’m glad that the things we learnt this year became useful in this in-depth project.
Despite my constant stressing, we had a great week together. For the first time, all four of the Creations teammates hung out and helped each other, we sang karaoke during trips (yep, that’s about as much as we’ve done for teamwork).
Today, feeling a bit defeated in the newsroom, I used every opportunity to leave. One was going to Father Coffee in Braamfontein with Roxanne, Luke and Rofhiwa (I don’t drink coffee, which is one of the reasons I’m a terrible journalist, but today I did, and I can now say “coffee is to a journalist what heroine is to a junkie”).
Later I helped Rofhiwa shoot at Constitution Hill, which was a first for me, I’ve never been there (I’m also terrible at being South African).
I finally calmed down after consulting with my photography lecturer and video mentor. My stills are good and my footage is approved. It’s such a relief, now I can go forward with editing (there I go again, when I’m not working, I’m thinking about work). It took me too long to realise that it’s better to consult and ask questions if I wasn’t sure about something. It would’ve spared me a lot of worrying, which is practically part of my DNA. Also, my feature mentor approved my final draft, so I don’t have to feel bad about enjoying my weekend.
The past four weeks in Yeoville have been an illuminating experience. I know I’m in the right industry (I would die if I sat behind a desk for the rest of my life). It was hard at first, and it called for courage a number of times. I learnt a lot about people and how they think. I also learnt that I’m capable of much more than I give myself credit.
I doubted my story a few times but something Lutho said about “just sticking to it and making the best of the situation”, was like a life bouy that got me through it. She also said that she wanted to slap me a few times so that I could stop panicking and calm down, I’m glad she didn’t (although it probably would’ve helped).
The most valuable thing I learnt was to keep moving forward. The immortal words of Finding Nemo’s Dory have never made more sense than they do now, “Just keep swimming” (I guess if you don’t, you drown).
For the final outcomee of the Wits Journalism In Depth 2014 project click here
For my article, click here