Week 1, Day 2, Irish Times

Today was fast-moving. The Leaving Cert (secondary school final-exams) results are out tomorrow, so my boss – the Science Editor, Dick, who is currently (temporarily) also covering Education – is as busy a man as you’re likely to see!

We went to a Features meeting in the morning, where various plans and suggestions for Health; Arts & Ideas; Science; Property; Motoring; and Technology were all discussed. There’s a lot going on at any time, and a full pipeline of material all of the time, and I’m still in awe that it all comes together. It’s so easy to pick up a newspaper in the shop and not think about the work behind the words.

I’m finished – for now – with my [draft] feature article on ‘good biofilms’, so Dick handed me a small assignment to do a piece on Leaving Cert celebrations. It actually took me a quite a while, though, especially to pluck up the bottle to make some of the phone calls. That’s something you get into the stride of, though.

Bang in the middle of this, the motoring and innovation editor asked me to give him a technology story on the futuristic, high-speed travel system that PayPal-founder Elon Musk has proposed in the US. Suddenly, it was after lunch and I had two copies to get finished before 6pm. I managed to find the ‘grantsmanship’ part of my brain and crank-started myself into layman’s-abstract- and ‘impact-statement’-writing mode. That seemed to do the trick, and juggling the two stories was actually much more interesting than working on just one.

For the Leaving Cert story: apart from just the normal stuff on parents’ warnings for students to behave, I managed to get some cultural references in there so I’m fairly happy with the finished story. It’s an Education – not a Science – story, but I don’t mind; the quote gathering and writing is good practice for the Science stuff to come.

For Musk’s ‘Hyperloop’ travel, I got an Irish perspective by talking to an NUI Galway expert in transport engineering.

I left a fairly full newsroom just before 8pm. I’m now more sympathetic than I even expected to be for the long hours journalists put in. In many ways, it reminds me of our own job – especially on grant-writing-deadline days.

It’s time to go to sleep now. I’ve some of the ‘day job’ to do early in the morning before I go to the newsroom, and it’ll be a busy day there again, I suspect. But, I’m like a giddy child now, hardly able to wait until I do get into there tomorrow and pick up a copy of the newspaper to check for my two stories. Then, I can tweet something daft like #IMadeThis.

I’ll put links up to both in tomorrow night’s post; tune back in then.

– GC

P.S. Signing this off as ‘GC’. Over the next while, some of the lab members will also post to our lab blog – on various happenings with our research that we think you might find interesting. So, I’ll sign with GC on any posts I write myself.

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