Monday, 26 April 2010
Well, it’s been an interesting week!
It takes some story to knock an impending General Election off from the top of the news but the volcanic ash cloud achieved it. Wide scale travel stories are good fare at the best of times but add a volcano into the mix and you’ve got a fabulous story. Not so fabulous if you’re caught up in the chaos though.
If you follow me on Twitter @newsleader, you’ll have read that I was stranded in Tenerife. My family and I were due to fly back on Sunday and we ended up arriving home on Thursday evening.
On the upside, it meant more time in the sun and the kids loved it but on the negative side it meant lost work and lots, LOTS of inconvenience. The biggest frustration was the uncertainty of not knowing when or indeed how we were going to get home. This was shared by many of the holiday makers in the package hotel where we were staying.
Anger boiled over at one point when a meeting chaired by our (brilliant) holiday rep had to be abandoned.
In our world of new technologies and social media, it taught me a journalistic lesson – never be without the means to record and publish.
As I listened to stories from fellow holiday makers from around the UK of missed exams, jury service and even a family who missed their rescue flight home, I of course realised the high value of these tales to the media. All areas of the country were represented within one single room.
If I’d have been a broadcast journalist stranded and missing work, I actually could’ve produced some unique, embedded content from the hotel.
So, can I suggest that today's smart journalist should never be without a smart phone with its cameras and voice recorders? Net books and small laptops too now make it possible for us to be connected and able to publish where ever we go. The TV news channels made a lot of use of Skype-d two-ways I noticed.
I know a holiday should be just that – a holiday but the ash cloud reminded me that news can happen at any time and we can end up in the right position to tell the story.
So, if you’re going away this summer and a similar thing were to happen, have you got the means to be able to report back? Best review that packing list!