Sunday, 16 August 2009

Dolly Parton news gathering

Wouldn't it be nice if everything we reported on happened during our contracted working hours - but clearly not during our lunch break.

We could have council meetings timetabled for 10am. Car crashes not before 9am and murders early afternoon please.
Major disasters like rail smashes, plane crashes and psychopathic shooting rampages midweek, thanks, to allow for enough time to follow them up before buggering off to the pub early on Friday afternoon.

Except, as we all know, it ain't like that.
News doesn't sleep and it certainly doesn't allow for our social or family lives nor the fact that sometimes we really don't want to get out of bed at 4am after a call from a police contact.

So why do some reporters today think that somehow they are exempt from working outside of their contracted hours?

Even during interviews I carefully explain the 9-5 day just doesn't happen. At least once a week there will be a night job, lunches are invariably taken at the desk and working late or coming in early on deadline day is the norm.

We try and make back those hours with time in lieu, but generally you will work as and when required.

Lots of nods at interview time, but once their dainty little feet hits the newsroom proper all of a sudden a militant level of clock watching comes into force.

Chairs are spinning at 5.30pm with no thought to ask the news ed if everything is ok. Hour long lunches are taken to the minute and coming in early is only down to public transport not breaking down.

The slack caused by their anally-retentive attitude to contracted hours is taken up by the real reporters in the office. The grafters who do the job because they love it and don't mind working a bit harder for the tales that matter.
It creates division and animosity in the office.

My hands are tied by HR. The hours are the hours, and by forcing them to do extra could lead to claims of constructive dismissal.
And these pedantic fucks are exactly the type who would do it.

To those of you who watch the clock while sitting at your desk, ask yourself why.
I imagine it is because you do not want be - or deserve to be - sitting at that desk.
You clearly have no idea about what the job is about.
You have no passion for news and you are biding the time until you can go into PR at senior level or some other worthless profession.

You are a fucking waste of space.
You make those people working around you work harder to make up for your laziness and lack of commitment.
You are keeping someone who may actually want to do your job from doing your job.

You are a cunt. And I feel like a twat for believing your lying "hard-working" arse during your interview.
Be a man/woman and resign.
Or better still toss yourself in front of a bus because it will be the closest you will ever come to getting your name on the front page of a newspaper.


  1. I'll chase a story like a good 'un, weekends and evenings and middle of the fucking night. I've left parties as they were getting interesting and dropped dates for the news.

    But I'll only do these things if the boss isn't a wanker.

    The question is, are you the sort of editor who actually notices when staff put in an extra three hours on a tuesday night without being asked?

    Or the sort who insists on reporters being in the fucking office at 8.55am, and not leaving their desk till 5.30pm, even though they put in that extra three hours the night before, and four hour planning meeting the night before that?
    The sort who thinks that reporters should be at their desks all day and only go out on their patch in the evenings and at weekends?
    The sort who tuts and moans because the reporter has the temerity to ask for friday afternoon off because they spent the last weekend at a collection of godawful flower shows and family fundays because you told them to?
    Who pays lip service to the concept of lieu time and expects the reporter, if they are finally having a day off that they have been owed for a month to do two days work in one to make up for it?
    And who never says thank you?

    Because if you are, then you can open a big bottle of fuck off.

  2. I've been reading this blog for a couple of months now and generally agree with every word that's written here. But on this issue, Blunt, you are in danger of coming across as a first-class cunt.

    Like anonymous above, I will chase a story at any hour of the day or night. I've given up evenings and sometimes entire weekends to cover big stories as they break - often of my own volition and without being asked, because the editor couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery.

    I don't ask for much in return. A quick "thanks" now and then. Perhaps the occasional pint bought for me after the paper's been put to bed for the week.

    Oh yeah, and most importantly, don't umm and aah when I announce that I need a couple of hours off to visit the doctor and get that nasty rash checked out / attend the funeral of a family member or close friend.

    Basically, if you expect your staff to work all the hours god gave and get nothing - not even basic human decency - in return (and in fairness it's not clear from your post whether you do or not) then you are no better than the management scum you claim to despise.

  3. Chaps, I agree with everything you say and in your honour my next blog will hopefully explain how I operate.

    ps I probaby am a first class cunt however.