Now, more than ever, Canberrans are relying on our local news outlets to deliver information and updates on the COVID-19 lockdown in the ACT.
Each morning at 11.45am, thousands of people tune into the daily ACT Health press conferences to learn the fate of our city and surrounds – but for some, like University of Canberra alumna Lucy Bladen, those press conferences are the pinnacle of their day.
Lucy works as a reporter at The Canberra Times, and although her usual focus is on politics, the Territory’s recent COVID-19 outbreak has seen her work shift to breaking news.
“I began at The Canberra Times in 2019 as a general property reporter, and then in early 2021, I moved into covering ACT politics,” Lucy says.
“So in my usual role, my days centre around the political cycle, but lately it’s really been about sharing the important health information and COVID-19 numbers in Canberra.”
Lucy says delivering lockdown-related news has a very different feel to the usual political happenings.
“There’s certainly pressure – it’s crucial that the numbers and information we’re reporting is accurate, and that it’s the information the public wants to know,” she says.
“It’s a really delicate balance, especially when it comes to asking questions.”
Lucy is finding it increasingly important to use her out of work hours to switch off and relax, and encourages Canberrans to do the same.
“I know I am trying to take my mornings a bit slower, making sure I get out for a walk, and limiting news consumption where I can,” she says.
“It’s really easy to get wrapped up in the news, to just have it on in the background while you work, so I’d say checking in at key times only would be the best way to switch off."
“Typically for me, that’s around the midday mark when new case numbers have been released. You don’t need to be on Twitter all day, you don’t need to be following Facebook all day – you can take a step back and focus on things that make you happy.”
Lucy studied a Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of International Studies in her time at UC, a degree she says has paid dividends in her career progression.
“My degree and time at UC not only provided me with a really solid journalism foundation, it gave me the opportunity to network within Canberra media circles before I even graduated,” Lucy says.
“I was part of the UC Press Club and we were able to go on industry trips and develop contacts as part of that. I was also the editor of Curieux magazine and I’d say that experience helped me get a foot in the door of the industry.”
Words by Elly Mackay. Photos supplied.