As some of you will know, I’ve been in Southport recently where I was attending the National Union of Journalists Delegate Meeting as part of a work experience programme. Me and 24 other students were selected to come to the meeting and report on the events taking place there as well as been given various excellent chances to network with journalists from around the country. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed these five days and have met some fantastic people.
Day 1 – April 6. This was the day we arrived in Southport. I came up from Coventry with fellow Coventry University journalism student Jordan Muckley. We made a pit stop in Birmingham to pick up Georgina McCaugherty, a photo journalism student, and then we set off on the two and a half hour journey to Southport. We arrived in the afternoon and booked in to the Garden Court Guest House which was right by the seafront and lucky enough a stones throw away from the conference center. In the evening we went to the local Wetherspoon where we met the programme leaders and a few other students.
Day 2 – Thursday morning was the day of the first meeting where we’d be getting to grips with what we were going to be doing and how the proceedings would run including a brief lesson on the NUJ itself. Later in the evening we had a big meal in an Italian restaurant where delegates and students would get to mix and talk. After the meal, I returned to my hotel room which was now called Edensdale. I shared a room with travel blogging student Lauren Williams and the room was very nice with an extra bed and a chocolate!
Day 3 – Today was the first day of the Delegate Meeting and we were put straight to work. Seeing as I’d already done a large feature for the website I decided to try audio and managed to record a nice little snippet by out-going President Jeremy Dear on the BBC which I posted to the website. I then wrote a brief article about how the NUJ Delegate Meeting will be held every 18 months. I was then placed on social media editor duty where I picked the top tweets of the hour. Later that evening all the students went to have a curry night which was really nice despite the bar woman trying to charge an extra £1 on top of the menu price for a glass of wine. We then went to a pub where I did karaoke. Fortunately, I managed to pull off a respectable performance of Shakira ‘Underneath My Clothes’.
Day 4 – Today I wanted to redeem myself from yesterdays mistakes so I went about doing some more audio. This time I made an actual package of the speeches from students who wanted to be the student speaker this year. I managed to get it published and then set my self an entirely new challenge. Video. I hardly ever use video but I decided to go ahead and film a student who was going to comment about a motion on Wikileaks. Despite some technical difficulties and having to make a big dash to the front and I had only just entered the room when Sam went up to speak (hence the wobbly camera of me sorting myself out) the video was published and later tweeted by Wikileaks report.
That night was the Gala dinner and after the three course meal Jeremy Dear received a presentation as he was standing down from his role as president. As a present, the NUJ hired him a Clash tribute band which at one point he got up and performed with. Meanwhile, I went on a scavenger hunt for more bottles of wine on other tables. I succeeded. An hour later I was on the dance floor dancing with the delegates. Then it was time to move on and I ended up in a Gay bar called The Crown. Now here’s a weird sentence I never thought I’d hear myself in. Megan singing Whitney Houston on stage at a Gay bar next to a drag queen. It was actually one of the best nights EVER!
Day 5 – The next morning, however, was not so good. I took a cab back to the hotel but couldn’t get the door open because of an electronic system that I couldn’t master when sober and ended up calling up to the bedrooms above for help. Magically, the door unlocked itself and I was back in my room at 4:30am. My roommate was still not back so I stayed up watching TV, fell asleep without setting my alarm and overslept. Luckily my room-mate returned at 8:15 in the morning having not slept at all and woke me up. I then had an attack of paranoia after I realised I’d had several double vodkas and Redbulls combined with two hours sleep and I literally thought I was going to die. However, I’m proud to say I made it the conference center on time and managed to write an article that morning. As it came to a close we all said our farewells. It was actually a pretty sad goodbye because I’d been working with these people for what felt like months and had been in some of their company for a lot longer. We said one last goodbye at the nearby pub (I didn’t drink that time as I do have limits) and then parted ways. I went back with Georgina and Jordan and I’ve just finished my last bit of work for the website.
All in all it was a very good couple of days. I gained a lot of good experience, met some great people and also had a lot of fun. You can look at my work on the NUJDM on the website and you can also go to my page.