Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 23. Day 235. Scarecrow

One of the most important lessons I try to impart on journalism students is that you have to learn to talk to random people and get their stories. There is, of course, an inherent risk in that because some people are nut jobs.
So it was for one poor University of Queensland journalism student putting together a visual communication exercise on the Parks Alive event which today moved to South Bank.
The young man saw a woman with a dog dressed in a pair of distressed jeans (the dog not the woman, obviously) politely introduced himself as a journalism student and asked if he could take a photo.
"What university?" the woman asked.
"UQ," the young man replied. "Well then, no," she said and when he went to walk away she said "I'm only messing with you. Sure you can take a photo. I teach journalism at QUT."
So the photo session happened and the very professional young man asked all the right questions and collected all the contact details. As he was about to go, Crazy Lady asked if he could send her a link when the visual project was complete. He explained that he was not planning on putting it anywhere online just to submit it for marking. Wrong answer, Crazy Lady told him before ordering him to sit down next to her and delivering a lecture. "You've got to market yourself. You've got to build your brand and that means building a online profile. Potential employers will search you and they will want to see what you have published and what you can do. You've taken photos, put them on a blog for the world to see. Waste no opportunity." The polite young man said he had been thinking of starting a blog but didn't really know what sort of writing he wanted to do in the future. "Here's a perfect opportunity to experiment and find out," Crazy Lady said before she and the dog in the jeans took their leave. For the record, Parks Alive should have made an excellent visual journalism project. There was so much going on, all of it free. A person who wasn't lecturing random strangers may have tried her hand at making a scarecrow or a kite or finding out how to grow ginger.

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