So, yesterday turned into a bit of an unintentional experiment. I’d been asked by the PA to cover the Aberdeen v St Johnstone game, and with Peterhead’s season already over, agreed to do so.
I’ve worked at Pittodrie before so know the script. There’s a wireless network there, so I’m able to work off the laptop to fulfil the copy requirements of:
120-150 words before the kickoff
Another 120-150 midway through the first half
up to 200 at half-time, to include a brief summary as an intro
Another 120-150 midway through the second half
Up to 200 again at the full-time whistle
A 600 word consolidated report ASAP after full-time
It sounds a lot of work, but it’s managable, and the requirement to send updates through piecemeal makes it easier to concentrate on the writing.
I arrived in plenty of time, before the team-sheets were even out, so was well ahead of schedule, whipped out the laptop and wrote the first piece of copy. I hadn’t been able to connect to the internet through the wi-fi connection but figured that as I was ahead of the game I’d have time to resolve any issues.
I’d had problems with the internet flaking out the last time I’d been at the Dungheap, but refreshing the browser had seen the connection come back, so I thought this may be the case. Unfortunately not.
By now, I was under pressure and decided to retype what I already had into the iphone, and email it through that. time-consuming, but eventually I got it through. The alternative would be to phone through the copy, which takes forever and isn’t really feasible in the noisy environment of a football stadium, even though it was less than a third full.
Still unable to connect to the wifi, and having also tried a BT Openzone hotspot I was detecting from somewhere, I realised I was going to have to repeat the process for all my copy throughout the game.
I don’t have a word processing app, so continued to type everything up on the laptop in order to use that functionality, but as I was going along I was also typing everything into emails on the phone and, once sent, copied the text into Notes so it’d be there for the full-time copy.
As it turned out, this worked well and allowed me to put through all the copy, bar the first piece which was slightly delayed, in a timely manner and meet all the deadlines.
The phone also acted as my stopwatch as it normally does when I’m working at games, and also the voice recorder for post-match quotes, so essentially an all-in-one productivity device for football reporting.
It’s not perfect, but as a backup solution it certainly did what was required, and with a bit of research and fine tuning, I’m sure it would be possible to find a suitable word processing app with word count feature.
The only failing as far as I could find, was that the voice recorder and notes apps, even with multitasking, are unable to run side by side, so it would be unsuitable for typing up a quotes piece without a second device of some form.
That said, I’m off to buy a mobile broadband dongle as a backup…