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September 7, 2014 | by  | in Features Homepage |
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In the wake of Dirty Politics, it seems that there is a real lack of transparency in the way our news is made. What journalists know and what is reported seem to be two different things.

So in the interests of transparency we thought we would experiment with free speech by conducting interviews with journalists over Twitter. We decided to interview ex-Salient journos who have made it big, and we were surprised by the sheer number of them in all parts of the ‘Mainstream Media’.

It was a bit of a learning curve. After pissing all our followers off by clogging their Twitter feeds, we learnt some things about the use of social media. One, that we should use hashtags more. Two, that we should say hello first. And three, people can be dicks over the internet.

But we also got some great answers. So thank you everyone for taking part in our awkward experiment over Twitter.

What did you do at Salient & when were you here?

Patrick Gower (Patrick Gower responded over email)
A ground-breaking sports column called “A Funny Old Game”… A joint-byline with a guy called Carl Allwood – who is now a lawyer in Burma! That was 1998. Our high point was an interview with Hurricanes second-five Jason “Bogues” O’Halloran, and covered the fact his cat had just been speyed.

What do you do now?

Patrick Gower
3 News Political Editor. Pretty busy right now.

Laura McQuillan (Laura McQuillan responded over email)
I’m a political reporter at Newstalk ZB, currently following John Key and the blue team around the country on the election campaign trail.

What’s the main difference between student media and mainstream media?

Patrick Gower
Got to wear a suit. And not one from an op-shop

Laura McQuillan
Student media has a lot of freedom to be outrageous and fun. Mainstream media is more serious, but my press gallery colleagues make every day great.

What are the best and worst parts of being a journalist?

Patrick Gower
The excitement of working to deadline. And the pain of working to deadline.

Laura McQuillan
Best: Every day is something different – news keeps you on your toes. I love the travel and the press gallery crew, and sometimes we get free snacks.
Worst: Sleep deprivation and always being in a hurry! But that’s outweighed by the good times.

What story of yours are you most proud of?

Patrick Gower
The last one. Only as good as your last yarn in this business. I really liked the 3 news team coverage of the demise of Crusher Collins.

Laura McQuillan
At Salient, I had a great yarn about a student politician misusing VUWSA money on psychic hotlines. Today, it’s any story that involves digging, or when I’m live on air with breaking news.

What are the pros and cons of using social media in your job?

Patrick Gower
Getting to engage with good cats, like Salient. That’s good. Copping endless abuse – that’s bad.

Laura McQuillan
You’ve got to be careful not to be a dick or to feed trolls. I’m a prolific tweeter and it’s a great way to break news or run commentary.

What’s the biggest issue this election? Who do you think will win?

Patrick Gower
The economy and “dirty politics” – and everything in between. I don’t pick winners – there’s such a complicated picture under MMP.

Laura McQuillan
Dirty Politics has been huge, but it has, unfortunately, overshadowed policy. National will win, but will they have the numbers to form a government? It’s an exciting election for political geeks.

Final Q we promise! Advice to budding journos?

Patrick Gower
Make your start with Salient. Worked out OK for me.

Laura McQuillan
Back yourself, put yourself out there, sort the truth from the bullshit. Be fearless but fair. Write for Salient! It’s a great stepping stone

Re: Tweets

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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