Nearly arrested on first job

As a journalism student I like to believe I have a pretty good idea about the career I will find myself in one day. But nothing prepares you for your first reporting assignment.

I read the brief that seemed fairly straightforward. What followed was anything but. After meeting Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries representatives, I and the photographer made our way to the Food Lover’s Market in Morningside to report on the sale of illegally-sized rock lobsters.

SAPA photographer Werner Beukes tries to defuse a situation where a manager of Food Lovers Market in Rivonia has a hush exchange of words with a group of journalists. Picture: Timothy Bernard. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

I soon found myself stuck in a refrigerated storage room with seven other journalists, arguing with security and the police to let us out.

I surprised myself with how passionate I felt about my assignment and defending what journalism was all about.

Then it struck me only a person who wanted to be a journalist would defend journalism. The dispute was about the owner’s ignorance about the media presence at the department raid. This led to police intervention.

It crossed my mind I might get arrested – it was a typical “jumping in at the deep end” situation.

I loved watching the photographers defend their work when owner Ben Rubin and department director of communication Steve Galame demanded they delete their photographs.

Although I wondered how I would tell my parents I had been arrested, I was relieved it didn’t happen on my first assignment. Maybe next time.