Friday, December 21, 2007

The Gizzy quake - a fresh reporter's news diary

It's always refreshing to hear from our AUT Uni journalism school scribes out there in the field. Take Jessica Wauchop for example, down there at the Gisborne Herald. Just received a breathless email from her after she was caught up in the story of her reporter's life so far - the Gizzy quake! A few lines from her message - she was caught in the middle of Xmas drinks:
Nothing like a huge earthquake to sober you up! It was 8.55 pm. It started really slowly, just rocking a bit and we expected it to finish soon like normal. All of sudden there was a huge jolt, then about 20 seconds worth of more severe jolts. The huge press machine was clanking and bottles were hitting the floor. For some reason we all ran outside to the carpark. Only one photographer jumped under the table, and I'm pretty sure I screamed.
The lights went out at some stage during all of this and it took a few seconds of shivering in the carpark to start thinking again. About half a minute later we all realised what had happened and thought "Shit! Stories! Go!"
Gisborne Herald is right in the centre of town and across the road from the Warehouse. We ran there straight away. It was crazy, people were coming out of the store - some with cuts others just in shock. Warehouse items had fallen from all the shelves and we spoke to people who had had to jump under a over turned couch to avoid getting hit by things.
Then we heard someone say buildings were down in town. (It's about now that I start feeling like a real reporter).
Another reporter and two photographers and I hailed down a truck, jumped on the back of it and asked it to take us into town where the buildings were down. The first building we saw badly damaged was Hallenstein's; its roof had collapsed and staff and customers were coming out of the rubble. I stayed here with our chief photographer, we spoke to the staff and customers who all had to hide under the tables. We climbed through the rubble a bit to help the staff members and get photos and a look at what happened.
Next we headed down town and went to several other buildings that had their ceilings come down with the earthquake. It was surreal... Image: Scoop

Merry Christmas Jess - and to all our Cafe Pacific readers!

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