Last night was my first foray into the wonderful world of slave *cough* erm, “paid in tax-free experience” labour for a professional media organization, which is apparently going to be a regular feature in my life for quite a while. I was covering the Ottawa Centre Green Party on election night, calling in 50 word descriptions of the scene as new developments happened and eventually filing 150 words for the print edition.
I definitely got the sweetest assignment. It was (a) at a bar, which was (b) a 15 minute walk from my apartment, and involved (c) hanging out with Jen Hunter (the Green candidate), her campaign workers, and some random BJ students who were doing a class assignment. I tried really hard not to rub it in the faces of my friends who had to drive an hour and a half to Brockville.
I love the Green Party. Only they would decorate their election night headquarters with disco lights and schoolchildren’s construction paper cut-outs. I was greeted by Jen with a “Welcome! Have a seat! Um, who are you?” The answer that I was covering the event for the Citizen, and my subsequent refusal of a free drink ticket, led to me being treated politely but reservedly (well, reserved for the Green party) for the rest of the night. Jen has some issues with the way she’s been covered by the Citizen in the past, apparently. As for turning down the free drink, yes, I felt like a total loser, but I mean, isn’t that pretty much a textbook example of what not to do for journalists? Anyway, I kind of felt like a narc all night. Or someone’s mom. The fact I was dressed as “reporter Barbie” (Michelle’s description) probably didn’t help. The BJ students partook enthusiastically in the free beer.
Even if they thought I was a dork, infiltrating scenes I’m not a part of is my new favourite thing about journalism. And the Green Party is just adorable. Everyone cheered every Green result, no matter how dismal, including the news that Elizabeth May and Jen Hunter lost.
One paragraph of one article published under someone else’s name is all that actually got into the Citizen. But something I wrote still got into a real newspaper. Right?