TV journo aims for top spot

Steve Kendall | Bendigo Weekly | 03-Jul-2015

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IT’S easy to imagine the school-aged Sarah Lawrence pretending to be a TV journalist in front of the mirror.

It has certainly been on her wish list since those days, and the dream has come true.

After stints on iPTV and Prime7, Lawrence is one of three Bendigo-based journalists for WIN Bendigo. 

Lawrence’s day kicks off about at 7am, and as is the order of the era she checks Twitter, with special emphasis on her Bendigo contacts, then it’s on to TV with ABC Breakfast. 

Lawrence heads to the office for 8.15am.

It’s not just a case of starting from there, with most stories surfacing the previous day, in some cases this involves sports stories from the weekend.

With the task of two stories a day, work is divided between two other journalists and two cameras, which involves a bit of juggling to cover the workload. 

There’s plenty of background work to be done involving a conference call across the state, and bulletins have to be written for other journalists to broadcast. 

Of course there’s the all-important deadline. Stories have been taped, edited and voiced over by the team and submitted for use in the bulletin. 

“Ideally by 4.30pm or 5pm we have to have submitted the story, but on a late story we can go as late as 6.30pm,” Lawrence said. 

“But that’s only in really stressful situations. We do try to have it in by 2.30pm so it can be checked and ready for air. It’s rarely changed, but it does happen sometimes.” 

There’s a limitation to the bigger stories, with a story length of 80 seconds. 

“Probably about 90 per cent of the time we could make the story longer, it can be hard to get the full story across,” Lawrence said. 

Life in the regions can be a bit easier with fewer media outlets chasing the stories, but there’s still a chance to ask the right questions to senior politicians.

It’s good practice for Lawrence who makes no secret of her desire to work in a capital city. 

“I’ll go anywhere,” she said.

“It will take some doorknocking, but I am prepared to work in any state or anywhere in the world. I have wanted to do the job since high school. 

“The job is very satisfying, and even when I have a bad day I pull myself up and say ‘this is what I have always wanted to do’. If I was an outsider looking at my job I’d just say ‘be grateful’.” 

Lawrence was editor of the school magazine, in both primary and high schools, an early indication of things to come. 

Even now Lawrence is some way up the career ladder, she is aware the dream of being a news anchor may be some time off. “It’s hard to get in,” she said.

“Maybe there will be fewer anchors in the future with the changing media landscape, and the internet may be a threat. 

“But I think habits are hard to change, and people still want to sit in front of the television to watch the news.” 

You can tell Sarah Lawrence is going to push hard for that lead role, and childhood ambitions sometimes come true.

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