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Reporters swap Yorkshire for California on eye-opening news trip

Murders, shoot-outs, Paris Hilton’s release from prison and forest fires were some of the stories two Yorkshire reporters encountered when they spent a week in the newsroom of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Yorkshire Post reporter Anna Smith and Whitby Gazette reporter Alex Fredman flew out to California after winning the trip at the last year’s Yorkshire Press Awards, where they were jointly named Young Journalist of the Year.

They spent a week working alongside the breaking news team at, and saw how journalistic life on the other side of the world compared to Britain.

Anna said: “The breaking news team are just purely internet-based and then stories might go in the paper the next day.

“Just like us they are starting out with video cameras and there is a real push to attract readers through the Internet.”

For Alex, the pure scale of the operation was a huge change, as the Union-Tribune – which has its own television studio and a radio station – has an editorial staff of 330 compared to the Whitby Gazette’s eight.

The pair also encountered a series of other notable differences, as they shadowed journalists, attended editorial meetings – sometimes with as many as 30 editors – helped with police and fire calls and wrote their own stories.

Alex, who kept an online blog about her trip, said: “At the Union-Tribune reporters are actively encouraged to destroy their notebooks, are issued with their own scanners to listen into police radios and are able to report stories much more freely even interviewing suspects when they have been arrested.