Tuesday, December 7, 2010

And so grinds the old news machine...

We're into the last slide at the end of the year, but the news machine is not wanting to slow down.
I cannot remember when last I worked as hard as I did today. When I last wrote as many words as I cranked out today.
At 6am this morning I jumped on my first story. A South African man living on Australia's Gold Coast was gunned down in an apparent random shooting. There he was, walking along the esplanade at Surfer's Paradise after a game of tenpin bowling with his kids, holding his wife's hand, when BAM! A bullet ripped through his arm and tore through four of his internal organs.
He had been shot in a violent crime incident in South Africa a few years ago and had relocated his family to Queensland. One would think it was the best thing a family man could do - but apparently violent crime has spread around the globe.
I made scores of calls to Australian journalists and found them to be amazingly friendly. Sweet Henry at the Gold Coast Bulletin even sent me the audio clips of the press conference and the police comments, so for once this Joburg journo could put out a multimedia online version of the story of the morning.
I cannot believe that just three months ago I was on holiday and walked the esplanade at Surfer's Paradise with my family. So weird.
And then it was time to crack onto the Anni Dewani murder story playing out in Cape Town. I don't quite understand why I got pulled into a story in another city, but hey - someone had to put together a piece on the unanswered questions, draw up a detailed timeline and then write a long narrative piece about what happened to the poor young bride in Gugulethu.
As I researched and wrote my heart out, the taxi driver told the Cape High Court how he had been commissioned to do the hit for R15 000 by Anni's husband Shrien.
It was all very dramatic, and all of us in the newsroom were glued to the TV, listening to the whole confession going down.
And then it was time for Shrien's publicist in London, Max Clifford, to give out Shrien's statement in response. He urged people to treat this latest development "with the contempt it deserves". Spoken like a true spin doctor.
This story is going to be great when it goes to trial!!

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