Whilst producing my first show in my new role as Radio Adelaide Friday Breakfast presenter I received an email from the Advertiser asking if anyone knew Flinders University Michael Demasi as he’d been involved in a shark attack. I’d been surfing with Michael and he was close to my good friend Elise Lavers who was the hero in the story. I contacted Bryan Littley who was trying to find Michael and told him I could get a phone number. I didn’t have Michael’s direct line but made contact with mutual friends. With the Breakfast Show finished and no reply yet from Michael, I called Bryan and he asked me to come into the office to help with the story, offering me a by-line.
At the Advertiser I finally got in touch with Michael and he told me the story. I took down the quotes and got the background information from Michael as well as Elise’s parents. Bryan then took all this and fashioned it into a news piece. It was originally set for page 11, but once we heard how good the tale was Bryan successfully pitched it for page three. My family happened to be in town and they came into the office as it was hoped my sister would have a photo of Michael and Elise. This was not to be, but it gave them an opportunity to see inside where I work. Later that evening I ran into Michael at a gig. It was an odd day!
The story was the top article on the Advertiser’s website on the day it was published and both of them were contacted by other media organisations. The Advertiser got the scoop and I had Elise on the Breakfast Program that morning. As I wasn’t able to contact her before the Advertiser story went to print this was the first time she told her story. The ABC interviewed her twice later that day and Channel Ten ran it as their headline story, in front of Bob Brown quitting politics.
While I’ve never shown a huge interest in straight news journalism it was an exciting experience to track down the source and find the story utilising the skills I learnt over four years of study.