Vanessa Kirkpatrick describes her induction weeks

The Induction weeks

I was to start on Granada Reports and would be shadowing Judy Finnigan – ‘my mother’ for the two weeks induction. My unassigned ‘brothers’ were the three amigos: superstar editors, Oral, Dave and Kim who adopted me on the recommendation of a mutual friend.

Everything was a haze, maybe because I was the mother of a ten month old baby. Each day for 10 months, I was travelling 80 miles round trip by coach from Bradford ( where I lived ) to Manchester.

I’m a brisk walker with a long stride and it’s my first week at Granada. Having got off the 06.15 from Bradford Interchange to Chorlton St. Bus Station – I noticed a familiar mop of hair. It was Mike Scott in front of me – then Programme Controller – swinging his leather attache case. He was sort of idling along –  but with purpose – in that casual manner he had. He seemed to be looking forward to his day.

I froze hoping he wouldn’t turn round. I considered a detour but that would have meant being late for the morning news conference. I had to scoop up as many newspapers as I could  to filch my mandatory 3 ideas – before the rest of the Granada Reports team plundered stories from the same papers.

Scott stopped – and turned round.  He was terribly pleasant for a chap who’s ‘upstairs’ on the 6th floor when I’m ‘downstairs’ on the 1st floor – but for me the next twenty minute walk  was self-induced angst. He asked what I looked forward to working at Granada. I can’t remember what I said, which is probably a good thing. I doubt – in fact I know – I didn’t make the best of impressions.

The newsroom – and everywhere else in the Quay St building  for that matter – was a health and safety hazard. Papers, lighters and the plumes of smoke from the cigarettes that fired our thoughts for the day. I also had a slight pre-occupation. I was sporting a Kevin Keegan curly perm and desperately worried that my hair  (treated with chemicals) might encounter a match and go up in flames – which did actually happen in a restaurant some weeks later.

I was tired from the early morning starts from the other side of the Pennines  and desperately nervous of the fast pace of the newsroom. I wasn’t used to turning over fresh  copy every hour. An opening paragraph for a dissertation used to take me weeks. After 10 months of gruelling travel, I moved to Manchester. 

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