Sunday, 16 August 2009

It's called a MOBILE phone for a reason

One of my biggest annoyances is a reporter's basic inability to answer their mobile phone when it rings.
I sometimes have a subs query, an urgent message from a dying relative or I may need to send you to an address early when I get a sniff of a police raid.
So, pardon me for working, I may need to call you on your mobile phone out of hours or during your lunch break.
Ring, ring, ring....message. Ring, ring, ring.....message. Ring, ring, ring.....message. Then straight to message (as they turn the phone off). I text the little fuckers to ring me back asap.
Sometimes I get a call back within an hour but often, especially at weekends, I get nothing until they walk into the office on Monday morning.
Their excuse for ignoring three messages, eight missed calls and ten increasingly abusive texts - "I don't work at weekends".
One of the little turds told me at interview they wanted to end up on the nationals, so I asked whether they thought turning their mobile off when they worked for the bigs would be acceptable.
"Oh, I wouldn't do it then," they tittered. Then don't do it to me, you pathetic wanker.
The last thing my national news desk said as you left the office every night was make sure your mobile is on.
It is always on, day and night. And I always answer it, day and night. When it runs out of juice or is another room, I get a feeling of dread that I am missing out on something.
Do you think that reporters in Dunblane, Lockerbie, Hungerford, Soham or Hillsborough knew what was going to happen in their towns?
Of course they didn't.
(And yes, I also realise that in some of these cases reporters were unlikely to have owned mobile phones.)
But something as big as the above events will happen again. And maybe in your patch. After 5.30pm most likely, or even at the weekend.
So the next time your mobile phone rings, pick the fucker up or you may just be hanging up on the biggest story of your career.

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