My Dawlish reporting days

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Saturday 5th April 2014

DawlishThe seaside town of Dawlish endured a terrible battering during this winter’s storms. So much so that the Victorian railway line running along the coast was left dangling above the waves, with no trains able to pass through for two months.

But this week, thanks to a £35 million rescue mission and engineers working round the clock, the line was declared open again ­– by prime minister David Cameron no less.

There were cheers all round – especially, I suspect, from the local newspaper, the redoubtable Dawlish Post.

I’ve got very fond memories of the small Devon town because the Teignmouth and Dawlish Advertiser was the very first newspaper I worked on (it later merged with the Teignmouth Post and Gazette and the Dawlish Post).

In my day the area wasn’t exactly buzzing with news but as a trainee news reporter I learned the nuts and bolts of newspaper journalism in Teignmouth and Dawlish.

For a start, I learned to get my facts right. Never mind letters or emails (which didn’t even exist in those days), if you got something wrong your interviewee would march straight into the newsroom and tell you to your face.

Another thing I realised was that it was hopeless sitting in the office all day, hoping that a story would land on your desk. You had to get out into the town and talk to people –politicians, headteachers, even the owners of the local zoo.

And even though it wasn’t exactly earth-shattering I’m still very proud of my first front page story. I found the story myself and it was splashed across the Teignmouth and Dawlish Advertiser.


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