Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Conference Brisbane 2012These past couple of days have been most exhausting, yet fulfilling. I don't think I can speak on behalf of the other volunteers, but I am sure they can all agree that this experience has been most enjoyable and inspiring.
I along with a group of five other volunteers, directed by a team from the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) were in charge of constantly tweeting and uploading information about the CBA Conference 2012, held at the Brisbane Convention Exhibition Centre.
The very first night welcomed speakers and delegates from all around the world, many of whom travelled many hours to arrive in Brisbane. Although it seemed so far away, Sunday was an amazing night where delegates and speakers could catch up and socialise. An amazing performance by the South Pacific Island Dance Group had us entertained for the evening.
Monday came about and the gloomy weather started the conference. A welcome speech, done by Mark Scott AO, Managing diretor of ABC opened the conference. He taught me three key things when it came to emergency broadcasting; the extent of preparation, the responsibility to deliver and the willingness to engage audiences even after the event.
I witnessed Genevieve Bell, an anthropologist and Director of INteractiosn and Experience Research in Intel labs after Mark Scott's welcoming speech. her speech about the technological impact on our lives in the future really had me thinking; are we actually so consumed by technology all the time. One of the key points she said was that she feared humans woudn't be inc control of technology in the next couple years, but, ironically, be in a relationship with it. I guess it did sound silly at first, but in all fairness, the phone and/or computer did stand in between the interaction of social human activites. I gathered from Dr. Bell's speech was that there is a large possibility that our future may be clouded by mass data and technology.
Dr Genevieve Bell, Director, Interactions and Experience Research, Intel
As the day went by the conference broke into three different groups, sitting in three different, smaller sessions. It was my full intention to listen to Anthony Baxter, from Google.org's crisis response team discuss the new social media and how it provided effective information for broadcasters and audiences in critical and dangerous events. based on people's tweets and GPS data, Google Crisis had the ability to create live updates on google maps and websites warning people of upcoming dangers in certain areas.
Ms Gabby Shaw, Innovation ABC and Dr Jean Burgess, QUT discusses the New Media Technology for Disaster and Emergency
The busy day was only halfway as we all sat down to have lunch. It came to my surprise that we, volunteers, had the chance to sit down with the delegates and socialise with them. What was even more surprising was when the food came out; expecting sandwiches and apples I didn't have high hopes for the food, but when the waiters brought out plates of steak, grilled king prawns and a chocolate tart.
After lunch we proceeded back into the boulevard auditorium listening in to the haunting stories of how broadcasters managed to stay on air during the event of an emergency. I didn't have much time to stay in and take notes as I the crowd of students slowly started swarming the entrance of the Convention Centre. The students were here for the master class organised by the CBA; with speakers Nigel Brennan, a photo journalist who was held captive for 15 months in Somali, and Sally Sara, the ABC foreign correspondent who's covered the news of the war in Afghanistan. It was amazing to hear the personal stories of the two speakers, especially Nigel Brennan and his traumatising experience as a prisoner. As well as hearing the stories of their personal lives they had some great tips for the students; be passionate about what you do, was one of many tips Nigel had for us. He said about 6% of students will become Journalists, with 1% of that group earning good money. The rest? Well the rest, will probably end up in PR or hospitality. It really scared me, but it did motivate me to go out, network and ask for the opportunities available to myself. One of the key things I gathered from his list of tips was the ability to multi-task, be it radio, camera, editing, writing, transcribing, was definitely a must. We were also introduced to yourworldview.org.uk an online space for people all over the world to share their content. It was an amazing site, and I am definitely going to need some quality time to spend browsing through all the videos.
Nigel Brennan sharing his traumatic experience as a captive
Sally Sara, ABC Foreign Correspondent explaining the dangers of working in Afghanistan
Not long after the speech, the crowd at the Convention Centre slowly dwindled. The delegates had returned to hotels to get ready and changed for our private train and coach to the Metricon proudly provided by Queensland Rail. It was definitely an experience; being able to drink on a train, able to shout in a quiet carriage. We were entertained by our penultimate speech for the day; the State Emergency Service Crew of Brisbane.
We were told of their stories about the Brisbane floods and how we all came together as a community to help each other. As we were taken to the Metricon Stadium, I talked to delegates Gary Allen MD, (Radio Jamaica Limited) RJR Communications group , Jamaica and Lissa Mcmillan, executive producer, Radio News. It wasn't long till we were welcomed by the smell of an amazing meal and I learnt that to really get work experience, just call up!
Delegates enjoying the freedom to drink on the Queensland Rail
The day ended with Peter Kuruvita making a special appearance. His speech; more of story of his adventures whilst filming his latest series really, was both inspiring and had me consumed by wanderlust. A part of me didn't want the day end, it was so amazing to meet big names from all around the world, build a network, making new friends and the opportunity to sit in and capture moments of the conference.
Peter Kuruvita explaining the wonders of Sri Lanka
Sally-Ann Wilson getting her picture taken at the Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast
I didn’t spend too much time during the second and last day of the conference. However, I arrived just after lunch all ready to update and create the buzz the CBA Conference needed on Twitter. After a couple sessions, I realised I had to update the flickr website with captions and the other photos that I neglected overnight.
Sally-Ann Wilson speaks to the media about the CBA Conference 2012
Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Conference Brisbane 2012
It wasn't long before the sun set and the gala dinner took place. It was definitely an experience to listen to Peter FitzSimons speak. It was both inspiring and hilarious. It came to no surprise that he set the world record for the longest ever one-on-one radio interview!
Although the night ended fairly early I had the chance to speak to some inspiring and important people, the motivation and drive to pursue a career in Journalism only got stronger after this wonderful experience.
The new ABC Brisbane Station
Touring around the new ABC Brisbane Station
It has certainly been an experience and a very amazing opportunity to work with such a lovely and hard-working team. It was a pleasure working with the other volunteers, Mandy Turner, Adam Weatherhead, Mervyn Warner, Jasmine Dhariwal and Siobhan Tighe. I would like to thank them for this voluntary experience which has definitely inspired me and motivated me in doing well and going out there and placing myself within the media.
Best of luck to everyone and many thanks to the CBA team!