Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Treading water

I feel like I am sitting at work learning nothing and doing nothing.
When I started here I got a real thrill about my position. New people, new patch, new experiences.
I have met a group of reporters who I really, really like. Who I consider my family. A real team now.
Since being here I believe I have made a real difference. Made a mark by bringing the news side of things up to a high standard. Settled old disputes by ensuring a fair, accurate and balanced approach, yet still being able to bring the hammer down on those who deserve it.
The paper's news content is certainly unsurpassed among the editions brought out in my little 'news hub' and we kick the paid for competition's arse on a weekly basis despite their overwhelming number of hacks.
I stripped out my papers of the past editor's furniture and ideas within a few weeks of settling in. It's ony natural to exorcise your editions.
Only those features that have commercial value or are my ober fuhrer's favourites remain.
In New Year my team of eight met to discuss future plans over the three papers. Full of hope and ideas, we came up with some pretty decent new sections.
(Yes, of course arrogance plays a factor in my assessment but have you ever met a good, humble boss?)
Any cunt can fill a newspapers with shit and quite a few in this industry do.
Creating a good balanced, interesting newspaper is a mixture of art, skill and bloody good luck. The few weeks a year I get it absolutely right, I leave with a massive natural high.
But recently I feel as if I am just passing time here.
With the recession, redundancies, and recruitment freezes we have been left slimmed down and with little hope over the last six months
Now my team slogs it out on a weekly basis. We fill our pages, but a lot of my early passion is gone. News stories I would normally get excited about and develop are just page leads.
Investigations or long term tales/campaigns are scrapped in favour of easy to write leads.
The sections we came up with are on hold. Our staffing levels, down to six, are dire. It's mainly pride, stupidity and masochism keeping me going. I didn't get into this job to be average. I want to be among the best.
In journalism the hours are lousy and the pay is shit. Accepted.
The only thing that keeps me going in this industry is the challenge.
Maybe it's time for another one.


  1. Soon as I get downsized I'm off to train as a teacher.
    The jobs the same - try to inspire people who don't really give a stuff, while at the same time having to reach unreasonable targets with limited resources under constant threat of violence and dismissal.
    The money's better though and you get 13 weeks holiday...

  2. From one news editor to another, stick with it, mate. I've never done any other job, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they all suck by comparison.

  3. We're all going through it.
    But I do think those manic smiles the corporates are wearing seem to be getting wider than ever. They are brazenly taking the piss out of us.

    I relaunched my paper last year and we're making significantly more money than before. It's making a very healthy profit indeed.

    My reward? Non-replacement of key staff.

    I'm now down to just two reporters filling up to 30 pages of edit a week.
    Worse, my deputy left two months ago and after stringing me along with platitudes about getting me a replacement, they've revealed that as I've "coped perfectly well without her for two months" they don't need to replace her. They've also suggested I should "drop the quality" if I'm working too hard.

    I am subbing the entire paper myself now but still can't bring myself to cut corners.
    I can, however, bring myself to update my CV and apply for any job that moves.

  4. I have no intention of leaving this industry. I am too much of a smug, over confident, arrogant wanker to go to civvy street. (plus I have zero skills) And as for PR, I would rather suck on the end of a double barrel than join that bunch of dirty fuck merchants.
    Problem is I can't see myself progressing here, just going through the motions and any fool can do that.