AddThis SmartLayers

Trainee finds herself in the headlines

Trainee reporter Karen Barichievy got a taste of life from the other side of a shorthand pen when she was caught up in the news last week.

The Ealing Gazette journalist was one of 100 passengers on board a Go flight from Newcastle to London that had to set down in the East Midlands because its pilot was not qualified to land in fog.

Karen, (25), who wrote an article for the Chronicle about the drama told Holdthefrontpage: “I was a little worried but I knew it was a good story. I thought ‘get a grip, get your notebook and get cracking’!”

Passengers had to wait on the tarmac for almost an hour in the Midlands for an incoming flight with a better-trained pilot on board. He was whisked across to get the London flight home and was greeted on board with a burst of applause.

Karen, who is learning her trade at Trinity Mirror’s in-house training centre in Newcastle, has only been at the Gazette for three weeks – and her training started right away.

But after spending time working as a secretary at The Times’ newsdesk, she wasn’t as naïve as many trainees might have been.

She said: “I wrote my article for the Chronicle and after it was syndicated and I was interviewed I found all sorts of quotes creeping into the national stories which I never actually said.

“And as soon as it was passed down the line to the tabloids I stopped being called a journalist and became a passenger instead. You definitely see the business from both sides when something like this happens.”

All Trinity Mirror juniors take their training in Newcastle for a four-month stint. Karen was lucky in that she was about to start there as an external student but won her job at the Gazette before the course began – making her an internal trainee instead.

This is her story from The Chronicle:

“Moments earlier we had been reading, dozing or planning our weekends.

“Now we sat gripping our seats trying to stay calm.

“We had started to wonder if something was wrong when we circled over Stansted Airport for half an hour without landing.

“I craned to see out of the window but the night sky was heavy with clouds.

“When the pilot’s voice came over the loudspeaker a few minutes later saying he couldn’t land because he was in training, people gasped, hardly believing what they had heard.

“After a bumpy landing at East Midlands he came out of the cockpit and stood at the front of the cabin and apologised, admitting this flight was part of his training and that he had not yet been taught to land in fog.

“He looked embarrassed.

“Passengers reached for their mobile phones and started calling their families to tell them what had happened.

“The woman alongside me sat quiet and grim until I turned to her.

“As others nodded sympathetically she told me she was scared and furious and vowed to write to Go to demand an explanation .

“Meanwhile, an air stewardess walked down the aisle with forced calm and a smile, reassuring us we would not wait for long and that she would be handing out free soft drinks.

“Although we were on the tarmac for an hour we never got them. This was no-frills all the way.

“Smokers hovered with trembling hands at the exit, but there was to be no relief for them either.

“When a van eventually drew up at the side of the plane and another pilot climbed aboard we cheered and clapped with pure relief.

“Our ordeal ended 45 minutes later when we successfully touched down at Stansted at midnight – three hours late and still a little shaky.”

Do you have a story about the regional press? Ring 0116 227 3122/3121, or
e-mail [email protected]