Liz Hannam

20.05.04

6.55am Alarm wakes me from nightmare. Dreamt I was Bridget Jones. I blame Press Gazette for putting the word “diary” in my brain. Watch BBC South Today to check what the opposition’s doing. Nothing earthshattering.

Turn to GMTV to check our output. Wish they’d have a definite time for the regional opt, I’m gasping for a cuppa but know it’ll be all over if I dash to the kitchen now.

8.15am Morning meeting. Invigorating.

We’ve had a push to get all our journos to come up with ideas and today we can’t shut them up.

11am Good news, £1m diamond theft in Swindon and police have CCTV pics.

Bad news, we’ve a crew, but no reporter.

Ring ITV West, they have reporter, but no crew. Bit of co-operation, lead sorted and it’s not even lunch.

1.14pmWeek-ahead planning lunch.

5:30pm Couple who’ve just rowed across the Atlantic come in for a studio interview. They touched down at Gatwick at 6am and are still up for a live with us, 12 hours later.

Exclusives 0, bad; new grey hairs 0, v. good

21.05.04

8.15am Choice of leads: police announcement on death of skydiver Stephen Hilder; Herefordshire firm in court trying to build a village for 1,000 foreign fruit pickers; and funeral of murder victim Amanda Edwards.

10.30am Hilder’s parents are expected at press conference – that decides the lead. We also want to do a live at his military base, but the only reporter available is doing a piece on snakes at an animal sanctuary.

11am Newsroom buzzing with astonished gasps. An article in Press Gazette says all our senior staff are leaving.

Causes consternation among senior staff who aren’t leaving and some of those who are, worried they’re being castigated as not being able to take changes imposed by the ITV merger.

11.30am BBC is taking the hiss.

They’ve turned up at our snake shoot, so the story can’t hold. Reporter says she’ll be as quick as she can, but snakes won’t come out of their box.

Exclusives 1, OK; grey hairs 2, thanks Press Gazette!

22.05.04

The weekend, hooray. Check papers.

Nothing missed. Call from weekend sub. Staffing crisis next day. Can’t believe I hear myself offer to cover.

Exclusives 0; grey hairs -3 (pulled some out this morning), v. good

23.05.04

Great news day – Sunday papers a feast on Hilder. We contact his best friend, who says no way was it suicide.

Great bulletin. Then I remember I have to write overnights. Knew there was a reason I didn’t like weekends.

Exclusives 1; extra grey hairs 0, v. good

Hannam, right, briefs presenters

24.05.04

8.15am Prospects: Hilder’s girlfriend denying it was suicide; a single mum diddled out of £4,000 family credit because of a tax mix-up.

9am Decide to do sport live from Phil Tufnell sponsored walk in Cotswolds.

11am Hilder’s girlfriend not speaking.

The single mum, happy to talk to the Express, won’t do us because she doesn’t want her neighbours finding out.

3pm Programme filling up. Londoners paying to have trash dumped in Oxfordshire and there’s a rush to become window cleaners (academy in our patch) because you can earn £50,000 a year. Could I switch career? 5.30pm Viewer tip-off. Bus crash with children involved, possible fatality.

Dispatch crew and reporter.

5.35pm Tuffers walking too slowly.

Might not make it for the programme.

Big hole in show.

5.45pm Tuffers turns up.

5.50pm Bus crash v. serious. At least one child dead. We’re first there, first to file report. Two other breaking stories. Now got too much! 6.30pm Great show. But when I enter newsroom it’s almost empty. All our young reporters have volunteered to go out to cover scene, hospitals, etc.

10.50pm Great late bulletin. Beat pants off opposition.

Exclusives 1; grey hairs 15 – but worth it; breaking stories 3. Now I remember why I don’t want to be a window cleaner!

25.05.04

8.15am Jim, our deputy news editor, is shadowing me today. He’s great. But why can’t I write when somebody is looking over my shoulder? 1pm Day going well, but a story short.

3.15pm Good old Royal Mail. Allegedly, postie has opened a thankyou letter and inserted a note complaining there was no money to steal.

3.20pm 21st century edit system crashes. TV with no pictures; there’s a challenge.

4.15pm Reporters all written up and nowhere to go.

4.21pm Fixed. After 61 minutes without an edit suite, mad dash to on-air.

Exclusives 2, good; grey hairs 61; times wanted to be a window cleaner instead 2

26.05.04

6.55am Wake to news of big fire in Swindon. I love the smell of a lead story in the morning.

9am Choice of leads. Remember I have to write this diary and it coincides with first after-work water-ski of season.

10am Story developing about Hercules transport plane mid-air collision, all crew safe. Only problem aircraft is still hundreds of miles away. No pix.

Decide to do live report with graphics sequence.

11am Should be able to fit in waterskiing and diary.

1pm RAF base agrees to let us do live there. Still need to sort graphics.

2pm Piece together route of plane, trajectory of impact. Good graphics sequence in the pipeline.

6pm Story looks great on air. Viewers would never notice lack of pictures.

6.30pm Must go water-skiing. Perhaps diary can wait until tomorrow.

9.30pm Water-skiing was fantastic.

Exclusives 2; grey hairs -5 (frozen off when I fell in water). Decide to forget being a window cleaner. It’s not a bad life!

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