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I recently came across the digital diaries — he called it a ‘blog’ — of a young boy named Edward Flinders who, at the age of ten, decided he wanted to become a journalist. He’s now 18 years old and he’s given me permission to share some of these entries. Is he now a journalist? You’ll have to read his diary entries to find out.
17th June 2013
Today I turned ten. Double digits. That’s what my teacher said. I am growing up and I have to start to create something.
At school last week, Brian’s uncle came in to talk to us about dreaming big. He is an actor and he said he started by making shows for his family and friends. He said this was his most important training. More than what he learned at the big acting university.
So I had a think about my life now I have double digits. I want to be a journalist and make something of my life so I have to start now.
I am going to start small. In my street. I am going to report all of the news that happens here in Donkin Street. If it happens in Donkin Street you will hear it from me.
This blog is where I will share everything. Not where I will put the articles, but where I will tell you the story behind the news.
I know Donkin Street better than anyone else. I have proven that. I can deliver.
Brian’s uncle said to be good at a small job first, then you will have the skills and confidence to go bigger.
So today my adventure will start. Please enjoy the ride.
18th June 2013
I am really excited. I did not sleep last night. I couldn’t.
So instead I snuck out of the house and walked back and forth down Donkin St. It was cold. I didn’t wear shoes. My feet were numb from the cold wet grass.
So many things were going through my mind. This is my kingdom. I will reveal everything about this street. But I still don’t know how I am going to do it. I need to start collecting my tools so I can do my job. I need a camera. Maybe I can borrow mum’s. It can also take videos. That will be useful. Pens and paper are easy to find. But I need to make a logo for the top of the newspaper, like they all have. A fancy way to write Donkin Street.
I was walking around for about two hours. I hid when I saw cars coming and then watched them going past. I need to know how Donkin Street operates at all hours. This is my job.
The police went past twice. Nothing exciting. I think they were just checking. They didn’t check very well because they didn’t see me and my double digits hiding behind a bush.
I didn’t feel tired. Just excited. There are so many things I have to think about.
How will I get my news to people? Do I make a newspaper? Do I put it on the internet? Do I sell it? Do I give it away for free? Do I copy the style of the local paper?
I haven’t told mum and dad about my plans yet. I don’t need to. Anyway, they are too busy thinking about selling the house.
19th June 2013
I got into trouble at school today because I didn’t do my homework. I didn’t do my homework because I’ve been busy thinking about Donkin Street News.
The teacher is not teaching me anything important anyway. Maybe English exercises are important because I will be writing a lot for Donkin Street News. But most of the other stuff is useless for me.
This morning I had a look at dad’s newspaper to get an idea of what I need to do. There are so many sections. I don’t want to do sections. I just want to do the most interesting stories. There isn’t a Donkin Street football club, so I don’t think I could have a sports section if I wanted to.
People want to know who is fighting with who, why the police visit that house on the corner all the time and who left the fishtails and doughnuts in the middle of Donkin Street. I know all these things. People will want to hear the facts from me.
I want to be watching Donkin Street all the time, but I have to go to school and sleep. That’s already most of my day gone. How can I get the good stories when I have to be at school for most of the week?
I thought about also doing a school newspaper but I think it will get too confusing. I want to focus on Donkin Street. That’s what I have to do.
But I have to be careful. If I get into trouble at school, my teacher will call my parents and then they’ll start watching me carefully. I think I know somebody in my class who will do my homework for me. But I will have to help him out in return. It might be worth it.
I’m starting to feel really tired because I haven’t slept properly since I began this project. I will go to bed early tonight.
20th June 2013
I have two stories for Donkin Street News. One is about a 13-year-old boy from down the road who smokes. His parents don’t know about this. The other story is about the old man who had his flower garden destroyed by vandals. This happened about a week ago.
I need to get photos for both these stories. It shouldn’t be hard to get photos of the smoker. I know where he smokes every morning and afternoon. I spent this afternoon practicing taking photos with mum’s camera in the yard. I got a mop and stuck it in the ground. Then I walked past the mop with the camera by my hip trying to take photos without looking at it. Most of the photos from the first twenty minutes were unusable. But I got about seven good clear shots in the last ten minutes. I think I can get a good shot of him smoking using this method. He won’t even notice.
I also need photos of the vandalised flower garden. Unfortunately the old man has already replanted some flowers. I might have to draw a picture instead.
I still don’t know if I should do a newspaper or a website. Maybe both. But I want to make sure I have at least five stories before I release it. If there is only one story, people will not be interested.
Tomorrow morning I will try to get the shots of the boy smoking. I still have to think about what to do about the vandalised garden.
21st June 2013
Well, things didn’t go quite as smoothly as expected this morning.
I had mum’s camera fully charged and ready to go.
At 8 o’clock on the dot, I left the house and headed towards the corner where I knew he would be smoking. Sure enough, he was there having a smoke.
I approached him confidently with the camera at my hip.
I approached slowly because I wanted to be able to walk past him when he had the cigarette in his mouth.
He took a drag on the smoke. I clicked the shutter.
Unfortunately I forgot to turn the flash off.
He grabbed the camera and started yelling at me. “Why are you taking photos of me?”
I didn’t answer.
He turned the camera on and he went through the images. The photo I took of him was perfect.
He deleted it.
“If I ever see you taking photos of me again you’re dead meat,” he said.
Then he went through all my other photos.
“Why are you taking photos of mops?”
I stayed silent.
He gave the camera back to me and stared at me.
When I got to school about 20 minutes later, lots of kids were pointing at me and laughing.
“How’s it going mop boy?”
It looks like I have a new nickname.
I don’t really care. I was more interested in how he was able to spread the information so quickly. He has something to teach me.