Wednesday: “Look at me, I’m on TV”

If you look at the trophy from a 78 degree angle, you can see the shadow of my left ear.

I get an excessive buzz over ten seconds of fame.

More than that, I become ecstatic when news breaks in my direct vicinity, regardless of my personal involvement/non-involvement.

A couple of years back, I boasted to friends about boarding a Ringwood train as it was being lit on fire. I even greeted the perpetrators, unaware at the time of their misadventures. The event duly made it over the airwaves within a few hours.

I didn’t see the event unfold, or get quoted by a media organisation. Nor did I get the chance to bonehead any accompanying news footage.

But I was there. And that delighted me.

You could put it down to a standard case of youthful narcissism. Or maybe obnoxiousness. Or perhaps you could call it eagerness, a yearning to find a road into the media industry.

My personal psychology, however, is largely irrelevant. The point is that I love being on the scene, lurking around as stuff unfolds. And that’s exactly what made my second day at Sportal so memorable.

At 10am, I ambled my way into Gosch’s Paddock, the training oval used by everybody’s most despised football team. With a gang of media personalities beside me, I watched as Magpie Alan Didak ran laps around the oval.

I wouldn’t have thought such a mundane event had any news value. But the masses of media seemed to have other ideas. Cameras followed the Magpie’s every move as journos prepared questions to pose teammate Jarryd Blair, appointed by the club to front the media.

Blair, standing in front of one of those makeshift sponsor-littered screens, seemed a tad overwhelmed by the volume of microphones being shoved at his face. The Sportal logo was just one of many iconic names prodding Blair’s chin, as representatives from every major media company in Melbourne vied for prime position. In this dog-eat-dog industry, it’s all about thrusting your labelled voice recorder into the frame for the 6pm news.

As a lowly intern, I stood to the side and held my anonymous microphone a fair metre away. There was no need for me to get down and dirty; I was here merely to suck up the atmosphere.

Despite being a footballer, Blair didn’t offer any philosophical insights worth twittering to the cybersphere. In fact, just like every other sporting press conference I’ve watched on telly, the Magpie offered little more than classic, mundane, and censored answers.

Not that I cared.

Einstein or not, this young man was making news. And I was there.

Back at the office, my role was to convert Blair’s routine responses into something readable. I even managed to sneak in a paragraph about Didak’s laps. I was no more than two days into the system, yet was already pandering to the masses.

My next errand took me to Princes Park (not Princess Park, as I have been erroneously calling it for years) for a press conference with former no.1 draft pick Bryce Gibbs.

This venture was less affected by the elements, with Carlton Football Club finding a nice little room to host the media spot. As the eager beaver I am, I grabbed the front row seat, trying to get as close as possible to one of my Dream Team’s most vital cogs.

It turned out that Gibbs was playing second fiddle to Victorian MP David Davis, the Minister for Health and Ageing. For Davis, this was a political opportunity to speak about the government’s latest initiative. Together with the Richard Pratt Foundation, the Baillieu government was setting up a fund for research into prostate cancer.

Good on them, and I say that with utmost sincerity.

A couple of journos humoured Davis and asked about some specifics, but there was no denying what the media’s real interest was. Pointing to the adjacent Richard Pratt Cup, a journalist quizzed the Blues star.

“So Bryce, I’m sure you’d like to get your hands on that?”

And with that, the media breathed a sigh of relief. Prostate cancer was forgotten about. It was time to probe into the more pressing issues.

That night, on the 6pm news, you could have been forgiven for thinking Gibbs fronted the media alone. No mention was made of Davis and the government’s announcement.

Not that it worried me. I was too busy jumping in the air.

“Mum! I was there! I was there!”


Articles written on Wednesday 13 July, 2011

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