Rachel Pupazzoni


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10 years

As of Sunday July 10, 2016, I’ve been working for the ABC for 10 years.  It’s hard to believe it.  (Gallery of proof below!)

1 – Am I really old enough to work somewhere for a decade?  School days don’t seem that long ago.

2 – If you asked me as a 14 year old, when I decided this was what I wanted to do, I doubt even my younger self would believe you if you said I’d be doing it. Let alone for so many years.

3 – Sometimes it feels like I’ve only been doing this a few years.  There’s still so much I want to do.

4 – Other times, it feels like I’ve been doing this job far longer than 10 years.

A brief history

I started with ABC News and Current Affairs in Geraldton in Western Australia.  It was tough going for the first few months.  I was the only journalist there for the ABC, so I was very much left to my own devices.  Eventually I got the hang of it and really enjoyed my 12 months there.  I made some great friends with the ‘competition’ from GWN and the local papers.  It was great to have my own ‘patch’ to cover.  I had the Mid West and the Wheatbelt regions. I filed stories on the farming, cray fishing and mining industries as well as the usual news.  I met some great people and visited some really nice towns.

I went to Bunbury, in WA after that.  There I had another journo to work with, so my workload was halved immediately.  It was great because it gave me more opportunities to work on longer form reporting.  We covered the South West which included farming, mining, wine and tourism.  I remember having  a great time filing for TV current affairs program Stateline about the Manjimup truffle industry and the dairy industry. They were both so much fun to shoot.  I also filed for the first time for radio current affairs programs AM and PM.  I was invited to a ceremony to rebury aboriginal remains. It was such a rare opportunity and made great radio.

After a year and a half I moved to Perth.  I became one of two main newsreaders for ABC radio news in WA.  That was lots of fun.  I will never forget the morning my sub editor accidentally deleted all the audio carts from my 745am bulletin.  I was one story in and had lost all my audio.  It’s a 15 minute bulletin.  It was stressful, but all I could do was keep reading.  It actually turned into an opportunity, as I’ve used it in job interviews as examples of dealing with stressful situations!  I also worked as a multi platform reporter in Perth.

After a few years, I was itching to try something new.  So I moved to Sydney and the team at ABC News 24.  Initially as a bulletin producer, but luckily it didn’t take long before I was reporting for ABC News Breakfast and presenting TV news bulletins.  And there it was, the 14 year old me’s dream to be a TV news presenter for the ABC, coming true.

Now what?

 


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Storm reporting

I spent most of today at Collaroy Beach on Sydney’s Northern Beaches reporting on the storm damage caused by the East Coast Low at the weekend. Here’s a snapshot of how it happens.  There’s a gallery if you don’t feel like reading. 🙂

7pm Sunday: I take a call from Joe at ABC News Breakfast to discuss the plan for Monday’s program.  I’ll need to start half an hour earlier than usual so we can be sure to be on location ready to lead the program with a live cross at 6am.  We tentatively decide that my crew and I will head to Narrabeen, with the expectation that may change depending on what happens overnight.  I start my sleep prep routine.  Setting the alarm for 3.29am and booking a taxi for 20 minutes later.  (Yep, I know that’s a random time for an alarm).  Joe contacts the cameraman I’m working with tomorrow, John and our links operator, Yudhana to give them the update.

3.29am Monday: My first alarm goes off.  I’m awake before it anyway.  I start browsing my emails to see if there’s any update.

3.30am: The second alarm goes off.  I’m up and getting ready.  I make a last minute decision to put on hiking shoes (that proved to be the right decision), grab my kit, including change of clothes and gum boots (best to be prepared!).  Meet waiting taxi.

3.55am: Arrive at work.  Slap on some makeup.

4.20am: I’m at my desk frantically looking for updates to see if Narrabeen is the best location to go to – AKA the worst affected area within a reasonable distance from work.  I call Stuart who’s taking care of live crosses for News Breakfast to discuss the plan.  (News Breakfast is based in Melbourne).

4.30am: I chat to ABC colleagues in the Sydney newsroom including the overnight radio reporter, radio sub editor and another TV reporter, Jo, who’s come in early. James the overnight reporter tells us he’s heard unconfirmed reports from the SES that houses have come down in Collaroy.  I make the decision to head there and join John my cameraman to hit the road.

5.20am: John and I arrive at Collaroy and quickly scope out the scene.  It’s pitch black and hard to see, but we can already tell the waves have caused some damage.  John knocks off a few shots of taped off houses.  Residents were evacuated from those homes last night.

5.35am: We choose our spot and start to set up for our 6am cross. John and Yudhana work quickly to set up the gear and establish a link to the Melbourne newsroom.  I gather my thoughts about what I’ll be saying in my first live cross.

6.00am: We cross live to News Breakfast where I talk to presenter Del Irani about the impact of the storm at Collaroy as well as elsewhere in the state.  After the cross I tweet a bunch of pictures.  They aren’t great because it’s still very dark, the sun is yet to show its face.  But urgency is key in this job and I get out what I can ASAP.

6.20am: I write a voice report for ABC radio news and email it to the newsroom for them to check.  They email it back.  I record my voice on my phone and email the audio to the newsroom.  The story will run in the 7am news bulletin.

6:30am: It’s starting to get a little lighter so I take a bit more of a look around.  I interview a local resident who tells me this is the worst he’s seen the beach since the 1967 storm that swept through.  John shoots some more pictures and we send the lot to Melbourne.

6.45am: I do an interview with Michael Brissenden, the host of ABC radio current affairs program AM.  We’re on standby for another live cross at 7am for News Breakfast in case the planned SES cross falls over.

7.00am: We don’t hear from the News Breakfast team so assume we’re clear.  John shoots more pictures.  I write another radio voice report.  Email the copy.  Get it back.  Record my audio and email that too.  It will run at 7.45am.  I take more photos and tweet them.

7.20am: We set up for another live cross to News Breakfast.  My colleague Jo who went to another location will also be live with me, colloquially known as a ‘three-way’ – 1 for me, 1 for Jo, 1 for the presenter.  Jo’s crew is having some technical issues, so we go ahead with our cross.  As I’m thanked by Del at the end of my cross I hear she puts a question to Jo.  They must have sorted their technical issue.

7.40am: I walk a little further along the beach and take more photos.  I start taking photos of the weird things that have washed up on the shore and tweet them. The ABC digital team is closely following my twitter account so they can rip my photographs and use them on the ABC website.  It’s easier for me this way. It means I don’t have to email them directly.  It’s one less step in a frantic morning.

7.45am: ABC NewsRadio calls to do a live cross with me.  I chat to presenter Sandy Aloisi about the scene before me.  I get back to my tweeting.  I chat to more locals who’ve come to check out the scene.  None of them will go on camera.

7.55am: I jump back in front of the camera for another live cross with ABC News Breakfast at 8am.

8.10am: I chat to the Newsgathering Editor, Albert, (except he’s french, so it’s Al-bear. I always say bon jour instead of hello when I speak to him.  He always politely laughs. I’m sure he finds it extremely annoying.)  I check if ABC News 24 (N24) needs us at 9 for a live cross.  He says to take a break from live crosses and focus on some news gathering.  John and I head up the beach to film some more pictures.  I take a call from a colleague in the newsroom who gives me Professor Ian Turner’s number.  I call him and John and I jump in the car to go interview him further up the beach.  Yudhana gets me a coffee.  It’s the first thing I’ve eaten or drunk all day.  (I still owe him some cash!)

9.00am: I interview Professor Turner from the University of New South Wales.  He heads a team that has been assessing coastal erosion at Collaroy for 40 years.  I hang up on two phone calls during the interview.  I later find out it was Albert hoping we might be able to do a last minute cross for N24.  Whoops!  John and I head back to our spot and send the interview back to Sydney.

9.50am: We set up for a live cross to N24 for 10am with presenter Joe O’Brien.  By this stage council workers are at the beach starting to clean up.

10.15am: John and I finally manage to convince some local residents who’ve come to the beach to talk to us.  We get a few interviews in the can.  Known as voxxies or vox pops.  I’m not sure why.  We send them all back to Sydney.  I spot a pregnant woman who has come down to the playground at the beach with her two young daughters to clean up the debris there.  I ask her for an interview.  She politely refuses.  I’m astounded by her commitment to her community.  She’s 7 months pregnant and busily cleaning up so the kids have a safe place to play.  What a woman!

11.00am: The council workers have closed the area where we are to the public as they clean up.  I tweet more photos.  After a while they tell us we have to leave too.  John and I quickly film what’s called an ‘as live’.  It looks like a live cross, but it’s pre-recorded.  This will be for N24 to run in the afternoon.  We leave the car park and look for another area to set up for our midday crosses.  We don’t move far.  Just to the park next door.

11.30am: Yudhana starts to power up the truck again to get our live signal out.  The truck isn’t working.  He can’t get it up and running.  We’re slated to do a live cross at 1205 and then a live interview at 1230.  I ring Albert and ask him to tell everyone to start organising a Plan B. Yudhana and John tinker around with the truck.  I stand there, pretty useless.

12.10pm: We give up.  Yudhana starts to pack up but he tries it one last time.  The truck seems to be working.  I’ve missed my live cross, but we can get set up for our guest.  Dr Mitchel Harley meets us at the park and we get him ready for 12.30.  (Check out Dr Harley’s Twitter account for some great images @DocHarleyMD)

12.40pm: The Premier Mike Baird arrives and starts a media conference.  Once we finish the live cross with Dr Harley we run over to catch the rest of Mr Baird’s conference and send that back live.  Once that’s done we send the ‘as live’ I’d recorded earlier.

1.30pm: We are replaced by another TV crew.  We do a handover and John and I start to pack up. Yudhana has left too.

2.30pm: John and I arrive back at the ABC. Its’s been 10 hours since we left the station this morning.

3.30pm: I arrive home and have something to eat.

Day done 🙂

 

 

 


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Sleep

It’s something many of us take for granted.  Some people don’t even think about it.  But when you’re a shift worker, thinking about sleep seems to occupy a lot of your thoughts.

When should I go to sleep if I have to get up early tomorrow?  Will I be able to sleep?  Will I wake up to my alarm?  Will my body be able to adjust to a new rotation?  I’ve spent the past month getting to sleep at 3am, now I have to get up at 4am for a new rotation.  How am I going to be able to change my body around so much in just two days?

I’ve always been a bad sleeper.  I remember as a child trying to sleep on my bedroom floor, the wrong way around in my bed, in the hallway.  Just about anything.  I remember some nights my dad sitting in my room until I fell asleep.  He must have sat there in the dark for ages.

Now, as a shift worker, sleep continues to evade me.  I read a lot about how to sleep.  There’s a lot out there.  Clearly I’m not alone.

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Lavender has long been known to have sleep assistance properties.  I drink it in tea and use it as a fragrance spray on my pillow.

Here’s my ‘I need to get to sleep’ routine:

Light a couple of candles

Turn on the ‘Relaxation’ playlist on Pandora

Take a hot shower

Brew a pot of T2 Gone Surfing – despite the name, this is a relaxing tea with ingredients including chamomile and lavender

Do about 10-15 minutes of yoga and stretches

Spray a few squirts of In Essence Sleep Easy Pillow Mist around my bed – it includes essential oils Lavender, Chamomile Roman and Valerian

Hope for the best!

I also try to get in an hour nap in the afternoon when I’m working on the breakfast shift.  I also do some kind of exercise every day.  Sometimes it’s a walk, yoga or pilates class, or a full on session at the gym.  It usually depends how I’m feeling that day.

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A dark room lit only with candles helps create a relaxing atmosphere 

Here’s an intersting TED Talk about sleep by Circadian Neuroscientist Professor Russell Foster.

Do you suffer trying to sleep? Do you have any tips/articles/vidoes to share?


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Facelift

No, not me.  My website.  What started as an exciting project when I moved to Sydney, soon became something I rarely looked at.  It’s time to give this baby a facelift.

If you’ve been here before hopefully you’ll notice a few changes.  Also, hopefully you’ll come back again soon.

This is a website for me to post examples of my work.  You can see links in the drop down menu on the top right hand corner of the page. But also, and perhaps, just maybe, more interesting, is my blog.  Which I intend to get more active with.  You’ll see from old posts I’ve written about little adventures I’ve been on and some interesting things from my work. I’ll keep those themes going, plus also add a few more things, such as reviews of activities I’ve done or shows I’ve seen.

Since this is my first post in a while, I thought I’d show you around work.  This month I’ve been working as the late night presenter at ABC News 24, with a few cameo’s on Midday and the Perth 7pm news bulletins.

So, here’s a tour of the ABC News 24 studio.

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Did you know the public can walk into the foyer of the ABC in Ultimo in Sydney and peer through this glass window at the ABC News 24 studio?

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The entrance to the ABC News 24 newsroom.

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You’ll see lots of screens in here.

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This is my desk for tonight’s shift.  We hot desk here, so our desk for the day depends on what shift we’re on.  In the evenings we’re not staffed as strongly as during the day, so the late presenter often has a couple of desks to choose from.

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Welcome inside the ABC News 24 studio.

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Here’s the view from the presenter’s chair.  You’ll notice lots of clocks.  The analogue clocks and the digital clock are all perfectly set to the second.  In this business, every second really does count.  There’s also a whole bunch of bright lights shining in your eyes, coming at you from all directions.  Finally three cameras point at you.  In this shot you can see camera 2 pointing directly at you – can you see the words on the auto cue?  Camera three is on its side near the digital clock.

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Here’s a closer view of camera two.  The auto cue is the big box with the script.  Presenters read off that screen.  Behind the screen is the camera lens.  Below it is a monitor which shows the program.

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This is Max, one of our auto cue operators.  They roll the words on the screen for the presenters to read.  They roll faster or slower depending on our reading pace.  It’s a critical job, because if we don’t have the words on the screen, presenters need to ad lib or try to read the scripts off our computer screen which is buried into the news desk.  As a viewer, sometimes you can probably tell when there’s a problem with the auto cue.

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This is the control room.  This position is where the first director sits.  Yes, they have all those screens to look at as they put the bulletin to air.  The director chooses the camera, frames the presenter and presses play for each item.  They give constant cues to the presenter who’s wearing a small earpiece.  The director’s voice is a presenter’s security blanket.  There are a few more clocks in here too!

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Here’s a shot of Jarryd who was my first director tonight.  Aaron is to his right as the second director.  A presenter puts their utmost trust in a director each time the red ‘live’ light goes on.  They do lots of technical things, most of which I don’t know much about.

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This is where the line up producer sits in the control room.  They choose what stories go into the bulletin and in what order.  They’re also responsible for checking scripts to make sure they’re up to date, accurate and make sense.  They also make editorial decisions while we’re live on air.

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Here’s one of the wardrobes at work.  Some presenters keep their clothes at home, but I prefer to keep my work jackets at work.  I like separating my work life and personal life that way.  At the ABC we buy all our own clothes.  We don’t have stylists.

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This is the makeup desk in the ABC News 24 newsroom where presenters can do last minute touch ups before going on air.

There are a lot more people who work to put each bulletin to air.  The shift leader, producers, screen producers, guest bookers, editors, sub editors, executive producers and the ABC’s vast pool of reporters around Australia and the world.

I hope you enjoyed this little guided tour.

Rachel

** All photos taken on an iPhone 6s.

 


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It’s been a while

Well, how embarrassing is this.  It’s been longer than I care to admit that I added anything onto my blog. It’s time to get back on track.

If you’ve read previous posts, you’ll know a little about me.  I’m a journalist.  I have been for 9 years.  If I wasn’t doing this I really don’t know what I’d be doing.  I’ve been a storyteller probably since I first learnt to speak.  It’s pretty incredible I get paid for it now.  I’m lucky to fulfil a couple of different roles at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) where I’ve worked for nine years.

Take this week; I was the Sydney reporter for ABC News Breakfast (NBK).  It airs weekdays from 6am to 9am, Monday – Friday on ABC and ABC News 24.  It’s also streamed online.  Here’s a snapshot of my week.

MONDAY: BEEP!  BEEP! BEEP!  Alarm goes off at 4am.  Rise and shine!  This is the life of breakfast TV.  It is NOT glamorous like many people think.

The many early alarms of a journalist.  I now have my morning routine perfected.  Alarm at 4am.  Scan work emails (1-2 minutes). Out of bed.  Shower.  Dress in clothes laid out the night before.  Brush teeth, moisturise face, spray perfume.  Shoes, jacket scarf on, grab umbrella and handbag.  Take vitamins from fridge with bottle of water while grabbing porridge from fridge already soaked in milk as I head out the door.  Jump in pre-booked taxi at 4.20am.  Arrive at work 4.25am and head straight to makeup.

The many early alarms of a journalist. I now have my morning routine perfected. Alarm at 4am. Scan work emails (1-2 minutes). Out of bed. Shower. Dress in clothes laid out the night before. Brush teeth, moisturise face, spray perfume. Shoes, jacket, scarf on.  Grab umbrella and handbag. Take vitamins from fridge with bottle of water while grabbing porridge already soaked in milk, as I head out the door. Jump in pre-booked taxi at 4.20am. Arrive at work 4.25am and head straight to makeup.

Today I crossed live into NBK covering the horrible news of a woman who died after being thrown from a motorbike sidecar during a race.  This job often brings you face to face with the harshness of life.

Later that morning a feature article I’d written for ABC Arts was published online.  It was a complimentary piece to a TV story I did for ABC TV’s The Mix about Indigenous dance company Bangarra Dance Theatre’s latest production, ‘lore’.  The show went to air during the weekend.

TUESDAY: 4am.  You know what happens.  Down to Mascot this morning to do some live crosses about a fire at an old RSL building that was currently being demolished.  No-one was injured and no homes were affected.  This is the best possible outcome!

Then my cameraman and I head off to the theatre to preview a new play about Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.  This was a lot of fun to shoot.  I edited the story later in the week and it’s slated to run on NBK on Monday.

Meeting Snugglepot and Cuddlepie + Mr Lizard and Mrs Fantail

Meeting Snugglepot and Cuddlepie + Mr Lizard and Mrs Fantail

I do all my own editing for TV.  Editors do still exist, though not in the number they did when I started with the ABC.  These days many journalists (including me) are expected to cut their own vision.  Gone are the days of a job that just involves talking into a microphone and staring down the barrel of a camera.

WEDNESDAY: Beep, beep, beep etc.  A big day today.  First up we’re off to the Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair where I met Fiona Kirk.  She’s an incredible woman who founded Angel Gowns Australia after being so moved by the death of her friend’s baby daughter.  The charity converts donated wedding dresses into tiny gowns for babies to be laid to rest in.  This story had a profound impact on me this week.  If you’re a sewer I encourage you to check out their website and get involved.  If like me, you’re not, may I suggest you vote for them as they bid for a funding grant.

Photo credit:  Angel Gowns Australia

Photo credit: Angel Gowns Australia

From there we raced off to Garden Island to welcome USS Antietam – a US navy ship that berthed in Sydney this week.  This was a lot of fun.  I met Captain Michael McCartney and toured the ship.

Inside the Pilot House of the USS Antietam

Inside the Pilot House of the USS Antietam

After I interviewed Captain McCartney he told me his wife and children had flown into Sydney that day and he was looking forward to seeing them later that night.  It had been 45 days since he last saw them.

After I interviewed Captain McCartney he told me his wife and children had flown into Sydney that day and he was looking forward to seeing them later that night. It had been 45 days since he last saw them.

I was astounded that when the ship berthed, the crew got to work cleaning, repainting, polishing and scrubbing the ship.  They’d been at sea for 45 days, and they weren’t allowed off to explore Sydney until the ship sparkled like new again.  Now that’s the discipline!

THURSDAY:  Alarm.  I had no story booked for today.  It had been a busy week already with all the stories I’d lined up.  So this morning I edited my Snugglepot and Cuddlepie story and sent it to Melbourne where NBK is based.  My Angel Gowns Australia story aired on ABC News Midday today too.  I’ve been told it generated a lot of calls from the public to the ABC wanting to know how to get involved.  It’s an incredible feeling to know that my coverage of the group has helped them get a little more attention and more supporters.  This is what being a journalist is all about.

FRIDAY:  Getting up at 4am this morning was hard.  It must be Friday!  Last night 1300 CEO’s around Australia took part in St Vincent de Paul’s annual CEO Sleepout to raise money and awareness about homelessness.  Off my crew and I went to the Sydney event for an interview with the Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull who took part in the sleepout.  Then another interview with the CEO of the NSW branch of St Vinnies.  Again, I was able to get out a message to our audiences about the plight of some of our countrymen and women and encourage people to help those less fortunate.  I feel so lucky sometimes that I’m able to be a voice for people who struggle to get heard in the public domain.

There you go.  My working week in a nutshell.  In future posts I’ll let you know a little more detail about how we do all the things we do.  I’m often reminded that the world of journalism and TV is one many people don’t know about.  So I’ll endeavour to spill a few secrets along the way.  I guess you know now, that being on TV involves EARLY MORNING ALARMS!  And let’s face it, that’s not fun 🙂

Until next time,

Rachel

Follow me on Twitter @RachelPupazzoni and check out more of my work on my Youtube channel.

All photos are mine unless otherwise stated.


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Meeting Amazing People

I’m often asked what drew me to journalism.  There isn’t one simple answer.  There are lots of reasons – but one of them is that it means I get to meet some truly amazing people – people who I would never meet if I wasn’t a journalist.  Sometimes they are famous people, sometimes they are ordinary people like you and me.  But all of them have a fascinating story (or more) to tell.

Since I moved to Sydney I’ve been fortunate to contribute to an ABC television program called One Plus One.  One of my interviews has gone to air and a few others are in the mysterious space that is an edit suite.

Peter Chwal is a man from Perth – a father of three, husband to one and an Australian Federal Police officer to the rest of us.  A couple of years ago he was diagnosed with a liver disease which stopped it functioning properly.  For a year and a half he had tubes and bags attached to him draining fluid.  I’m so pleased to say he doesn’t have to live with those ‘additional appendages’ anymore because he is the successful recipient of a new liver.  You can see my interview with Peter here.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-03-01/one-plus-one-peter-chwal/4547864

THE TWITTER CONNECTION

Peter’s a pretty amazing guy with such a positive and never give up attitude.  It’s hard not to be inspired by him.  I ‘found’ Peter on Twitter.  I’d been searching for someone to interview during a future trip home to Perth and one night I was checking my Twitter feed (something I do about 10 times a day) and someone I follow had retweeted @PetersLiver.  I was intrigued and started ‘Twitter stalking’ Peter.

This is the tweet that caught my eye.  I retweeted it and started the coversation.

This is the tweet that caught my eye. I retweeted it and started the conversation.

It’s hard to say exactly what caught my eye.  I guess in a small way I appreciated his frustration.  I could never understand it.  I haven’t had to wait for an organ.  I’d never met anyone else who was in that same predicament.  But immediately I wondered what that feeling would be like, and I assumed other people might have that same thought.

During the next few days Peter and I chatted on Twitter and finally on the phone.  He agreed to let me interview him.  I am always amazed by people who are so open and willing to share part of their life with thousands – or more – unknown names and faces.  We met for a coffee a few days out from our interview for One Plus One.  Sitting before me was a man whose life literally depended on someone else.  Someone he would never meet and never get to thank.  He had no control over whether he would even get a new liver and so there was no certainty for his future.  Peter was a man who couldn’t plan much further than a day ahead.  He could never be more than a few hours out of Perth in case he ‘got the call’ to say he would be receiving a new liver.  Peter couldn’t shower properly, he couldn’t swim in a pool or at the beach, he couldn’t live the life (we so often take for granted) to its full potential.  But what Peter was doing was living the life he had, at that moment, with all those restrictions, to his 100%.  I knew his story would make a fascinating interview.

People are often interested to know where journalists get their stories and how they know a story is a story.  In this case I have social media to thank.  The second point to that question is an interesting one.  Sometimes it’s difficult to see the story and make it accessible and simple to understand.  Sometimes the story just jumps off the page (or screen) at you.  If it interests me – then that’s the first step.  Peter’s story moved me, and I hope it moved you after watching it.  What is shown is often only an edited down version (due to time restraints).  I get to see and hear so much more than what the rest of the world will see.  I wish I could share all my encounters with Peter.  A few days after filming our interview, Peter’s life was changed when he received a new liver.  He’s in recovery now and looking forward to a full life with his family.  It’s so wonderful to be a part of a story with a happy outcome.  So often in my job the stories are sad.

Sitting down with Peter as he tells his amazing story.

Sitting down with Peter as he tells his amazing story.

Having a laugh now the interview was over.

Having a laugh now the interview was over.

INSPIRATIONAL PEOPLE

I recently met another inspiring and amazing man for an interview for One Plus One.  This week I interviewed John Wood.  John used to work for Microsoft and left his high paying, high profile role with the company to start Room to Read.  RtR builds libraries (15000 of them and counting) and schools (1650 with many more to come) in some of the world’s poorest nations.  I’ve been following John’s story for a few years and when I found out he was coming to Sydney I jumped at the chance to interview him.

John is one of those people who captures your mind and doesn’t let go – even after he’s left the room.  His enthusiasm for what he does is contagious.  I’m really looking forward to my interview with him going to air.  I can’t wait for the response it will get from people all over Australia.

I’m reluctant to say too much about John before the interview goes to air – so you’ll just have to keep an eye on One Plus One for our chat.  After that I’ll update this post about meeting John Wood.

Such a great man to spend an afternoon with.

John Wood – Such a great man to spend an afternoon with.

I’m now on the lookout for more interesting people to meet.  I feel very lucky that I get to spend time with some truly inspiring people.  If you know someone who has an interesting story to tell, please let me know.  You can email me at pupazzoni.rachel@abc.net.au

You can follow Peter’s journey on Twitter @PetersLiver and you can learn more about John Wood @JohnWoodRTR and my Twitter account is @rachelPupazzoni

Thanks for stopping by!


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News of the Year

If you know anything about me – and let’s assume you do if you’re reading my blog – you know I’m a journalist.  I love to know what’s going on (and if it’s before anyone else that’s even better!).  I think I’m so lucky that my job means I get to learn about the things happening in our world that matter to us.  Here are my top 11 news events of 2012.  They’re not in any particular order.

London Olympics

I have always loved the Olympics.  I am in awe of what some people can do and I was not disappointed this time around.  Although most of the coverage by Australian media was about the lack of medals Australia’s swimmers won in the pool.  I really don’t know why there was such a focus.  Yes I understand media outlets need to cover the Olympics and fill time in their bulletins or centimetres in their newspapers…. But surely it’s not that hard to find other issues to cover.  For someone to get into the Olympics it takes years of hard work, sacrifice and dedication.  I really felt for our swimmers who were the subject of so much criticism.  It even led to Swimming Australia announcing a review.    Here’s a link to an online story to refresh your memory.  http://www.news.com.au/sport/more-sport/swimming-australia-appoints-consultants-to-review-london-olympics-performance/story-fndukor0-1226515794631

US Election

Speaking honestly, I’ve never actually cared that much about the US election process.  It bored me and dragged on forever.  But this year I was part of the ABC News 24 team’s special coverage of the election.  The lead up to the day was really interesting and I finally became swept up in the US Election hype.  The actual day was lots of fun… seeing predictions and reactions from people on the streets of the US and finally the speeches by the two leaders. I think the best part was when we realised Barack Obama had been returned to office and we went to air with that news before anyone else in Australia.  http://www.abc.net.au/news/specials/us-election-2012/

Julian Assange

The story of the Wikileaks founder has been around for a few years… but the development in 2012 was that the Ecuadorian government agreed to provide him a safe haven at its embassy in London.  You may remember Julian Assange’s speech from the window of the embassy a few months ago.  If he steps foot outside the embassy its likely British police will arrest him.  The US government wants to prosecute Julian Assange for publishing classified information… while Swedish police want him in relation to an alleged sexual assault.

Media Jobs

It’s fair to say this issue is quite close to my heart.  This year in Australia about 2000 journalists and people in media production lost their jobs.  Newspapers announced they were changing their format and reducing their staff… television networks facing huge debts cut jobs to save money.  Then I read this article on the job prospects (next to nothing) for journalism students.   http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/degree-of-doubt-for-journalism-students/story-e6frgcjx-1226330666395 If nothing else, this year I’ve really realised how lucky I am to be a working journalist for an organisation I love… and I’m only a few years away from long service leave (gulp!).  But aside forgetting me, the media industry is probably not looking particularly appealing to those on the outside as an industry to w=get involved in.

Died of Shame

There are some media jobs I wish would disappear.  Alan Jones.  Ugh.  In September he made horrible comments about the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s father, saying he died of shame because of her political polices.  The comments were recorded and he appeared at a media conference to try to dull the fallout.  I really don’t need to say more on this.  I’m sure you all remember his comments and have made your own opinions about it.

Prank Call

This news event is still in the media so I’m sure you don’t need too much of a refresher.  Two Australian radio DJ’s made a prank call to the London hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for morning sickness.  They recorded a nurse revealing the Duchesses medical condition.  Days later one of the nurses caught up in the prank was found dead.  This is a horrible story.  I expect it will lead to a fairly major overhaul of the rules that govern radio broadcasting in Australia.

Leveson Inquiry

The UK’s inquiry into phone hacking and freedom of the media, known as the Leveson Inquiry, began in 2011 and Lord Justice Leveson handed down his findings in late November.  The inquiry was sparked, as the Executive Summary of Lord Justice Leveson’s finding says, “by public revulsion about a single action – the hacking of the mobile phone of a murdered teenager”.  It was then expanded to cover more broadly the standards and ethics of the British media. The hearings lasted months and included people such as the parents of the murdered teenager, the parents of Madeleine McCann – the little girl who is thought to have been kidnapped in Spain, actor Hugh Grant, Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brookes and former Prime Ministers, including the current Prime Minister David Cameron.  There was much speculation about what the recommendations would eventually be.  Lord Justice Leveson has recommended an independent body be established to oversee the media, replacing the existing self-regulatory system.  Some were hoping full control would be given to the government.  Here’s the link to the Executive Summary.

http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0779/0779.pdf

Jill Meagher

The disappearance of ABC staffer Jill Meagher after a night out with colleagues in Melbourne triggered a massive response from the community.  When her body was found and police made an arrest, that outpouring of support continued.  Tens of thousands of people spontaneously marched through Melbourne’s streets to show their love and support… as well as their disgust at what had happened to Jill Meagher.  The man charged with her rape and murder is due in court early next year.

Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission

Pressure on the government led the Prime Minister Julia Gillard to announce a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse.  The government is yet to appoint commissioners and outline the exact details of the inquiry.  It will however examine all areas of the community that care for children such as scout groups, cadet groups, churches and other community groups.  We’ll hear a lot more about this next year and most likely in the years to come with some predicting it could take a decade to complete the inquiry.

Lloyd Rayney

This is a story well known to my West Australian readers.  In 2007 Corryn Rayney was found buried in a shallow grave in Kings Park.  Her husband Lloyd Rayney – a senior legal figure in WA – was charged with her murder.  His three month trial played out this year.  He was acquitted by a judge alone.  The question remains… who killed Corryn Rayney.

Anti Islam Film 

The film Innocence of Muslims sparked worldwide outrage earlier this year.  The film depicted the Prophet Mohammed as a ‘thuggish deviant’ which offended Muslims around the world.  Angry protests were staged in dozens of countries and led to a number of deaths, including the US Ambassador to Benghazi.  There were even protests here in Sydney.  The filmmaker was charged with violating a probation order for fraud charges, completely unrelated to the film.

What are your top news stories of 2012?

Thanks for reading.  I hope you come back soon.

Rachel