Today I read two telling articles about the world of journalism. The first, in the Guardian, reports that Northcliffe Media is recruiting for new reports via Twitter. One of its execs, Alan Geere, said he was sick of wading through “monstrous CVs” and challenged prospective employees to wow him in 140 characters instead. He also took a pop at people who claim there is an over-supply of qualified people wanting to do journalism, arguing “there’s definitely not an over-supply of people who are any good.”
Meanwhile, freelance journalist Janet Murray just became the first freelancer in the UK to recruit an apprentice. It prompted a debate about acceptable routes into journalism, and I’m guessing prompted many freelancers to read in envy about anyone self-employed in a recession who can afford to share work and provide training. (More info and discussion over at IdeasTap.)
So, just as successful young artist Johanna Basford recently wrote a list of ‘Things I wish I’d known in Art School‘ I’m going to indulge myself with a few thoughts of my own. Not that I’m holding myself up as an example, but I am at least making a living as a writer at a time when even the banks are broke. I won’t compete with Johanna and list 50 pieces of advice (I’m not patient enough), so here’s five thoughts:
Well since the rest of the UK is gleefully heaping scorn upon the News of the World I feel it would be remiss of me not to do that very British thing of hopping onto the proverbial bandwagon. And I’m even cheeky enough to simultaneously criticise their journalism and steal their (admittedly smart) headline.
I must however warn any readers foaming at the mouth with NotW-induced rage that this blog post is not going to be a diatribe against the paper. I won’t be raking its ashes and calling it a disgrace – or at least not ad nauseum. In fact let’s get it out of the way early on: NotW was a crap paper, and its actions were 100% immoral. Indeed, it is a disgrace.
That said, I am heartily sick of reading editorial after editorial ranting aimlessly about it. The Guardian has been positively ejaculating with joy all month, writing article after article to stir things up, few of which tell us anything particularly new about the story. And in common with most of the rest of Britain I was very nearly reunited with my lunch when Cameron said – with astonishing hypocrisy – that this would ‘end on my watch’. You’re kidding, right?
Today marks the end of the Guardian Edinburgh blog, an experiment in hyper-local journalism that achieved what seemed to be nigh-on impossible: a professional and useful daily local news site with a dedicated and varied following. So why close it down, and what does this say about the future of local news? 38minutes asked the face of Guardian Edinburgh, its ‘beatblogger’ Michael Macleod.
Where did the idea for local blogs come from and what did Guardian hope they would achieve?
The mission statement is online here. There were quite a few aims, but in summary it was an experiment to collaborate with communities in providing journalism about their areas. I wasn’t really part of the concept/design/launch stage as I joined in September, about 5 months after it started in Edinburgh. But one of the project’s aims that jumped out for me was to increase scrutiny of, and participation in, local democracy – something I felt, and still feel, needs to be given more prominence in society. Otherwise who knows what they’ll get away with?