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Diary entries of a wannabe journalist [02]

This is second installment in a series about a young boy named Edward Flinders who, at the age of ten, decided he wanted to become a journalist. If you’re new to the series, it’s best to start on installment 01, but if not, welcome back!

As you’ll remember, Edward has started chasing his first stories and he ran into some trouble when he tried to snap a photo of a boy smoking at the bus stop.

22nd June 2013
Yesterday when I came back from school I saw him smoking again. He saw me and stared at me.
“Don’t even think about it mop boy!”
I showed him there was nothing in my hands and kept walking home.
Then I waited until he went away and I went back to his smoking spot. There were a few cigarette butts. All the same brand. I collected them all and put them into a small paper bag.
It might be hard to get a photo of him so I need to think of other ways to collect evidence.
I might ask the science teacher if she can do a D&A test on the butts to prove that he was smoking them. I can take a photo of the science teacher, the butts and scan the test results. That’s three pictures for my story.
But I really want to get a photo of him smoking. That’s what people want to see.
If I had a zoom lens I could take photos from my home. But I only have mum’s simple camera. I still can’t believe he deleted my best photo ever. If only I remembered to turn the flash off.
I took some photos of the flower garden, but they look really boring. I don’t think anybody cares about the garden. If they saw the damage caused by the vandals they would be interested. I heard that one of the vandals actually used the garden as a toilet. I wish I had photos of that! People would definitely be interested in that photo.
Edward Flinders

23rd June 2013
This morning I woke up to hear mum yelling.
“Who’s taken my camera?”
I grabbed the camera from my bag and put it on her desk.
“It’s here on your desk mum,” I told her.
“I looked there before. It wasn’t there five minutes ago,” she said.
“Have you been using it Edward?”
I shook my head and walked away feeling a little bit guilty for not owning up.
Mum very rarely uses her camera so I wondered why she wanted it all of a sudden.
It turns out she was taking photos of the house for an independent real estate website.
“Why are there pictures of the mop in the garden? I wondered why that was there when I came home on Thursday night. Edward, what are you up to? Edward?”
That’s all I need right now – more questions! She kept pestering me with questions about the mop.
“There must be a hundred photos of this mop Edward! Why?”
I told her I was trying to get better at photography and I needed to practice to improve.
“But why did you take all these photos of mops? It doesn’t make sense. Why didn’t you take photos of birds or flowers? Something isn’t right Edward.”
I told her I’d try taking photos of birds next time. And finally her questions stopped.
I’d just woke up and I was already exhausted.
But there was somebody I needed to talk to and I knew where I’d find him.
Sure enough he was smoking.
“Good morning mop boy,” he said.
I asked him how he managed to spread my new nickname so fast.
“Who’s asking,” he asked.
I told him I was.
He told me how he wrote about me and my mop photos on social media.
His friends thought it was funny and some of them told their younger friends and brothers to spread it around my school.
That’s how they found out.
I decided I should tell him about my plans. I don’t know why, but I felt that he could really help me get my stories out there quickly.
He listened to me talk about my vision of Donkin Street News for about 15 minutes.
At several points he even smiled. He seemed to understand what I am trying to create.
He tried to hide his smile when I said I was impressed with how he could spread information so quickly.
I asked him if he would help me launch my first issue.
“Sure Edward, I’ll do it,” he said.
He forgot to call me mop boy. Or maybe he respected me, because now he knew I was different to most ten-year-old boys.
I decided then that I would drop the story about him smoking.
My new goal is to launch DSN (short for Donkin Street News) within one week.
I want to have at least five stories for the launch.
That’s one from every weekday.
This will be a busy week.
Edward Flinders

24th June 2013
I finished my first story ready for publication. On the way to school I saw something disgusting on the footpath. It was a used condom. Most ten-year-olds wouldn’t know what it was. But I did.
I took a photo straight away.
A man walking his dog saw me taking the photo. He looked down at the footpath and shook his head. He wasn’t impressed.
“Filthy people! Why don’t they get a room?”
Most ten-year-olds wouldn’t understand what he was talking about. But I did.
Sex. He was talking about sex.
When he walked away I took a photo of him and his dog from behind and wrote down what he said. I knew I needed to use his quote in my story.
I knew that someone had sex in Donkin Street but I didn’t know who.
When I got to school I went and saw the science teacher.
“Can you do a D&A test for me?”
She said that she couldn’t.
“Please, just as a favour for me. Please!”
She told me that she didn’t have the equipment.
“Well how can I find out who used this?”
I showed her the used condom.
She freaked out.
“Why are you carrying that in your pocket? Where did you find it?”
She really freaked out.
“Look, are you going to help me or not?”
No. She wasn’t going to.
Instead she took me to the principal’s office.
One hour later I finally got out of the office after hearing about germs and diseases. Nothing I could use in my story.
I don’t know why they are freaking out. They are made from rubber. Like balloons. People give kids balloons all the time.
Anyway, they want to talk to mum and dad. That’s all I need. More questions from mum.
When I got home there were some people looking at the house. Mum didn’t look angry so I don’t think the principal has called yet.
I went to my room and wrote the story. I think people will be interested. I made a headline that I’m very happy about: It’s Donkin Street not bonkin’ street. People will definitely want to read this.
That’s why it’s important to know lots of words. ‘Sex’ doesn’t sound like ‘Donkin’ so I didn’t use it. Root and hump didn’t work either. But bonk means sex and if you put ‘ing’ on the end it sounds a lot like ‘Donkin’.
And in English class I learned I can use a high comma to remove letters from words. That’s why there is no ‘g’.
I’m very excited about launching DSN.
Edward Flinders

25th June 2013
It wasn’t easy finding today’s story. For a time I didn’t think I could do it.
But at about 6.50pm I hear some yelling next door. I grabbed mum’s camera and went to my bedroom window and started recording.
Mr Thompson was doing the yelling. And there were a lot of rude words used to say that he didn’t order a pizza.
The pizza deliverer said that if he went back without any money he would be penalised. The money would come out of his wage.
Mr Thompson used a lot of rude words loudly to say that he didn’t care.
The pizza deliverer was very desperate.
“Please buy the pizza. I’ll sell it to you at half price.”
That made Mr Thompson very angry. Small things always make him angry.
He started yelling even louder with even more rude language.
Then he pushed the pizza deliverer down his front stairs.
It looked very painful. The deliverer hit his face on the stairs three times. I know because I watched the video later and counted.
Mr Thompson told him never to come back. Of course the language was different.
The pizza deliverer slowly stood up and said he knew a lawyer and there would be big trouble.
Mr Thompson swore some more.
This is definitely the most exciting story for DSN so far. I can get some great pictures from freezing the video. The shots are very clear. You can even see blood on the pizza deliverer’s face and a missing tooth.
Now I’m going to go through the video and type out the full transcript. I will include all the swearing. Adults like swearing.
Yesterday I found a sex story. Today I found a food/violence story. DSN will have it all. Everybody will be talking about these stories. Especially with my smoking friend helping me to promote them on social media.
Three more stories to go.
Edward Flinders

26th June 2013
I did not sleep last night. I was up all night typing the transcript and getting frames from the video. It is not easy but there are places on the internet where people tell you how to do these things. They are called forums. You don’t have to pay or use credit cards either. People answer your questions and provide answers because they are interested in the topic.
I decided that the best way to do the transcript is like a comic strip. I pause the video, get a screenshot and then make speech bubbles and put the words in from the transcript. That’s why it took so long. But, I think people will like it very much.
Today I had to find another story. There were no used condoms on the street – I will add that to the first story. And the pizza deliverer did not come back. I couldn’t find anything for a story.
But, then I remembered that it doesn’t always have to be a ‘story’ to be in the news. Maybe it could be an interview.
I remembered Longwei – that’s his real name. Even though kids at school call him ‘Wrong Way’, it is not correct. Longwei is correct. The smoker once made a joke about Longwei. He got a photo of a sign that said ‘Wrong way go back’ and changed it with special software so it said ‘Longwei go back where you came from’.
I think Longwei’s parents are from China. They are very strict and make him go to Chinese school after normal school and on weekends. So he can write in English and the Chinese diagrams.
I went to his house this afternoon. He also lives in Donkin Street – if he didn’t he wouldn’t be in DSN. You have to take off your shoes when you enter the house. But I don’t wear shoes when I’m in Donkin Street. His mother didn’t like my dirty feet. She made me wash them with funny-smelling water.
Longwei only had a little bit of time before he went to his second school. But, he agreed to be interviewed.
He said many interesting things. I recorded everything with mum’s camera and I took photos of his Chinese diagrams. They write the number one sideways.
I won’t do a comic strip for Longwei because I don’t think it will look interesting. He didn’t fall down the stairs or lose a tooth so it will look boring.
It did look cool when he was eating. He doesn’t use spoons to eat with. He eats with two long sticks. He puts them in his left hand and eats as he writes diagrams with his write hand. I need to learn to write and take photos at the same time. It will be great for getting news quickly.
Longwei said his name means Dragon. I will check on a forum. But, if he is telling the truth, it’s pretty cool.
I don’t know what Edward means but I like it because I’ve noticed many men named Ed work at newspapers. It is destiny.
When I got home mum was waiting for me. The principal called her about the condom.
She made me promise that I will not touch condoms again.
“Mum, they are just the same as balloons,” I said.
She said I was too young to understand but she wanted me to promise her that I wouldn’t touch them.
I don’t understand why she acted so strange about it. But I told her I wouldn’t touch them.
I heard her saying to dad that they should have ‘the talk’ with me soon. It seems important. Maybe they sold the house.
I can’t leave Donkin Street now. I’m just starting DSN.
Anyway, I have to make Longwei’s interview into a story tonight. I might call it ‘The dragon of Donkin Street’.
It’s already late. I feel very tired and my feet still smell funny.
Ed Flinders



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