It may be due to a total immersion in the news, at a time when there really isn’t much to be positive about, but I am feeling rather blue.
The ‘economic climate’ in which we find ourselves is the equivalent to peering out of your front door on a winter morning, dark clouds looming, wind and rain slapping your face and prickling your hands. In short, it makes you want to run back to bed and have a cup of tea.
It is with this feeling I pick up the paper each morning (or, more truthfully, log onto my computer and sign into my feedreader – but artistic licence must be given); down-spirited and sodden of foot, I can quite honestly say I am sick to the back teeth of reading irrelevant stories related to the credit crunch. It seems news stories (especially in local press) are quite literally appearing out of thin air, based on very tenuous links with the economy.
‘Shoe shiners not hit by recession’ – Hurrah!
‘Financial woe blamed for increase in sock prices!’
Quite rightly one of my lecturers yesterday put a strict ban on any news feature pitches relating to the credit crunch. In his mind, and mine, it really wouldn’t have shown much originality, we are, for want of a better phrase, in a saturated market.
I am not disputing the importance of the recession. The magnitude of the situation that we are freefalling into has not passed me by, and I am attempting to keep my finger on the pulse of any developments in terms of the greater economy. However it does seem the phrases ‘in the current climate’ or ‘due to the credit crunch’ have become almost definitive items in any conversation and more importantly news story or feature of late.
No wonder the scandal surrounding Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross caused such a furor. Even those who couldn’t give a monkey’s if the ill-advised pair pissed on the pope were throwing themselves into the great debate as a sort of light relief.
A glimmer of hope to end upon however, a positive angle on the great recession story of 2008; readership of quality dailies is up. After months of being told we are entering a dying industry this is certainly welcome news.
New Journalists (that’s me – allegedly) are falling short of the mark.
According to this Press Gazette article it seems that trying in to balance all the new skills we are required to have, to stay up to date and get ahead in the face of a dying print industry (doom, doom, doom), we are losing out on the traditional skills required of us. “Push forth into the digital future of news!” I hear my mentors cry; encouragement highlighted with words such as ‘multi-platform’ and, of course ‘online presence’.
Yet now even this is not enough, we may well be leaving behind the skills needed to take us to the top. I’d like to think that being on a Newspaper course will stand us in good stead. Rather than concentrating on broadcasting and other media, as on some courses, we are given the opportunity to hone our news writing skills.
If nothing else this article steeled my confidence in why I devote so many hours of my life to scribbling outlines and transcribing banal prose in shorthand lessons, as one ‘senior newspaper executive’ said: “A reporter without shorthand is like a runner taking part in a marathon with one foot in a cardboard box.”
I’ve got one foot off the starting blocks then at least…