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Urban Exploration And The Media: How?

Newspapers And Magazines These tend to be easy; most journalists are office loving, prefer e-mail and/or phone to a face-to-face conversation, and simply want a picture or two to illustrate their article. You can generally get everything wrapped up in half-an-hour.

They might promise to send you a copy of the article before publication but won't. They'll also take your address so they can send you the paper after publication; but won't. The best you can hope for is a "heads-up" for when the article is published, as urban exploration is filler for "slow news days"; but you could still be waiting weeks.

Sometimes you'll be faced with a rarer-breed of journalist, a hands-on activist who wants to get their clothes dirty. In these situations, pick a large, easy building, tell them to wear old clothes, do your homework on the location, and finish the interview by lunchtime so you can get a meal on their expenses.

The paper may also insist on bringing along a staff photographer. They're normally game for anything, and are often amazed at what you show them. In return, you can swap photographic tips and talk equipment. They'll tend to slow the whole exploration up by composing shots and attempting various lighting set-ups, so again it's best to choose somewhere quiet.

Radio is midway between newspapers and television. Sometimes you'll have a chat live with a DJ; alternatively you'll be pre-recorded.

Be prepared for an extremely quick turnaround. If you're participating in a live show, then you could be asked to appear within a day of the approach; it's the fastest and most immediate.

(NB Some radio presenters will lie to you. "Don't worry Simon, we prerecord everything." Don't believe them. Otherwise you end up being interviewed early on a Saturday morning with a king-sized hangover trying to sound coherent and personable and suddenly realize your droolings are going out live to all the British Forces overseas.)

TV is far more problematical as producers and directors love to turn up mob handed, treat the buildings like a film set, love multiple takes at different angles, and have a very cavalier attitude towards security. Therefore, your location has to be relatively safe, have easy access, and little or no security. Make them whittle their team down to director, presenter and cameraman. In addition, if you're eloquent and confident, ditch the presenter. But watch them like a hawk: TV crews are mostly oblivious to the dangers of urban exploration and tend to get very excited, very quickly.

Never, ever go to a site you don't know. Whilst a producer or director will relish the opportunity of getting those initial reaction shots, you might also discover a site covered by PIRs and get busted by security within minutes. Always pick somewhere you know well.

But, urban exploration is often unpredictable and occasionally you'll turn up at an old favourite and find the police training dogs there or builders demolishing it. Therefore, always have a Plan B or Plan C to fall back on. These won't be as exciting and photogenic as your first target, but at least you'll be able to get something in the can.

Ditchingham Maltings and the potential fall-to-your-death silos..