Last week, enticed at the prospect of trying journalism first-hand and hearing from the Sydney Morning Herald’s Editor-in-Chief Darren Goodsir, nine of us from OMD Sydney took part in the Fairfax Media Editorial Challenge.
OMD took home the ‘Best News Story’ award, outlasted all Fairfax staff and other agencies at the bar afterwards and had a notable mention for bravery when Jasper Sadubin, Kori Bassi and Kate Duffield, took to the Sydney streets to Vox Pop ladies about their preference for British vs. Australian men.
The Task: Six media agencies battle it out to create a winning front page
The Setting: A CBD pub.
– 1 x News story
– 1 x Feature story
– 1 x Photo for the feature story
– 1 x 30” video to bring one of the stories to life
… All of this had to be done in under two hours, and there were prizes available for the best front page, best news and best feature story and best video.
After a short introduction from Martin Wood, NSW Agency Sales Director, Darren Goodsir gave us some insider journalism tips, covering off both finding and telling stories to set us up for the challenge.
And so we began.
- Appointing roles
This was an exercise in recognising your own strengths and using your individual skills for the best result overall. Each of us were from different OMD divisions – TV, WORD, Fuse, Digital, SEM and SEO – so naturally had different interests and recognising this was important to save time.
- Finding our stories
Have something to say – if it’s a good story, people will read it. Whilst everything else is important, without a good story they are obsolete. Each of us shared any stories we had and finalised the following:
News Story: #lovewins. A mother’s fight for son’s right to love.
Following Siobhan Coombs’ mum’s recent win for funding to help her gay, disabled son find love.
Feature Story: Poms: Oversexed?
Following Ben Lusk’s recent proposal to his Aussie girlfriend, we explored whether British men are sweeping up all of the Aussie girls.
- Putting it all together
This was a hard and exhilarating process, with three key lessons from us all:
Get your hands dirty.
Everyone mucked in to get the job done, working in multiple roles to carry the load.
Deadlines can be helpful
The deadline added a layer of pressure that was both stressful and exhilarating. It meant that personal perfectionism had to be put aside – you can only do your best, with the tools available at the time.
Respect for copywriters
With tight word counts and formats, creating eye-catching and truthful copy is hard, often because we have too many words, rather than too few.
Overall, this was a great way to meet new people across the agency, learn some new skills and hear from experts in their field.
We’d recommend it to anyone if the opportunity comes up again.
OMD won best news story for their ‘#lovewins A mother’s fight for son’s right to love’ article: