Stuck in the middle

August 22nd, 2008

Yesterday I wrote this, which was probably the biggest story I’ve done so far in the BBC. Mostly I work on quite low key stuff, so it was interesting to be writing the background to a guilty verdict in a murder trial, with very little time to pause for breath.

The way the law works in journalism makes me feel strange, morally. When someone is on trial, of course everything is neutral and careful (at least in the BBC) and they’re innocent until proven guilty. Then when someone is found guilty, they’re automatically a murderer and a killer.

It’s not that I have no faith in the courts, I hope they get these things right, and they’re obviously meticulous. It’s more how sudden the change is and how there’s this outpouring of “story” as soon as someone’s found guilty. Like everyone is waiting just to wheel out the societal reaction to a gruesome death.

That’s the other thing about working in news, I’ve never felt like such a cog in “society” before. Everything you do feels like breathing out normality, reality, the world as it is currently seen. Everything you write is centred on what people as an amorphous mass believe. It’s a really strange feeling. No matter how much you try and escape it, the more nuance and bias you remove the more things seem biased towards peoples natural preconceptions.

It’s strange how the raw truth can feel tainted by the lack of interpretation you put on it. Maybe I’m just cynical. Watch the TV news tonight (especially a local news bulletin) and then ask yourself this: how many stories start from the point of total ignorance, of total lack of interest or enthusiasm for anything? Every story seems to say “Look at this person, doing something which is odd to me the journalist”.

But everything is odd to the news journalist because the average news journalist is culturally clueless! Just witness how badly they handle stories about “EMOS” or rap music! It’s very frustrating.

All of the above leaves me considering other careers, or trying to do something a little different within my current one. It’s been good to work in news to learn this I guess. It’s early to give up anything totally, but I do think it takes a particular type of person to be a news journalist, one that I’m not.

What I have done in the 3 months I haven’t posted here

August 22nd, 2008
  1. Refused free newspapers (3 weeks in total)
  2. Waited on Northern Line (An infuriating 90 minutes or so)
  3. Travelled back and forth from Tunbridge Wells to London (probably a week)
  4. Benefitted from everything being open all the time.
  5. Suffered/recovered from everything being open all the time.
  6. Drank Aloe Vera juice (which tastes kind of alcoholic)
  7. Searched the web for Glenroe clips (more on this soon)
  8. Had a bedbug exorcism.

This guy

May 17th, 2008

“LET ME VENT SOME OF MY FRUSTRATIONS WITH THIS FUCKING DR PHIL AND OPRAH

I’M WORKING, BUSTING MY ASS TO MAKE A LIVING THAT NO ONE HAS EVER GIVEN ME A DIME I HAVEN’T EARNED ( I’M A WHITE MALE BUSINESS OWNER) AND I GO HOME AFTER A HARD DAY AND IMMEDIATLEY HIT WITH WHAT OPRAH AND DR PHIL HAVE SAID

I DONT GIVE A DAMN WHAT SHE HAS BEEN MULLING OVER ALL DAY SINCE SHE HEARD IT ON OPRAH.

WHY DON’T THE TALK RADIO CHANNELS GIVE US A PREVIEW OF WHAT DR PHIL SAID SO WE KNOW WHAT KIND OF SHIT WE ARE GOING TO GET WHEN WE HIT THE DOOR????

IF I KNEW WHAT THE TOPIC WAS….I COULD TURN THE PICKUP AROUND AND HEAD FOR THE NEAREST BAR.

THANKS

– WAYNE SIEGERT, Thursday, February 7, 2002″

Lost Scumbags

May 9th, 2008

 

That’s what it’s called.

Henry Kelly’s Legacy?

May 8th, 2008

I was reading BBC News Online last week (I see it when I sleep now) and a serious news story used the phrase “playing catch up”. This got me thinking, where did this actually originate? I can remember in the late 80s coming home from school and “Going for Gold” would be on BBC, and Henry Kelly (above) would constantly say “Hans you’re playing catch-up” or “Patrick you’re playing catch-up”, with the bland European feel of the show making it some kind of EU wet dream.

Thing is, I don’t really think this stupid phrase was invented by Henry Kelly on “Going For Gold”, but I’d love to know when it first began to be used. I can’t say I’m a big fan.

Crank

May 8th, 2008

“Dear Sir,

In Stuart Jeffries piece “What lies beneath Austria’s surface” he refers to Robert Musil’s classic novel as “A Man Without Qualities”.

The novel is in fact called “The Man Without Qualities”.

Thanks a lot,
Ronan Fitzgerald”

“A REAL PUSH”

May 1st, 2008

Liverpool may be out of the Champions League, but I predict “A REAL PUSH” for the title next season.

Oh Yes

April 8th, 2008

STRAP IN AND FEEL THE GS

April 5th, 2008

A London List

April 2nd, 2008
  1. Transport: Good for short trips, can also be intensely depressing, but it’s a bland depression. I mean, when I travel on the tube and think, as one inevitably does: “humanity shouldn’t live like this” or “this is a grim post millennial existence” I chastise myself. Thinking this on the tube is like thinking “I am getting wet” in the rain. These are the moments that spawned a million awful articles, albums, and ideas. The blandest resistance imaginable. Plus the tube is convenient!
  2. Food: Supermarkets are cheaper than Dublin, crap sausages though. Marks and Spencers is pleasantly everywhere, things like sandwiches and lunches are about a third of Dublin prices here.
  3. Multicultural cities: I trained for my job with a group from very different backgrounds. It might paint a falsely backward picture of Ireland to say that I’ve very rarely spent time with people from other religious or racial backgrounds, but it’s true. I suspect it’s true for many Irish people. What’s interesting is after discussing this at a really big training event one guy, a Londoner with Indian parents turned to me and said “don’t think you’re not a minority too, you’re the fucking Paddy!”That felt very odd as I’d kind of self identified as being exactly the same as the English people, but of course I’m not, in whatever sense race matters or differentiates.
  4. Work: I’ve never done a job before where I worked this hard, I am completely shattered already.
  5. Alcohol: 3 weeks in a hotel means you drink so much that you then have to swear to go off booze for a month.
  6. Dublin: I am missing it already! Not the places by any means, but the comfort zone I had there, my friends and family and the ease of not really doing anything with my life that mattered.
  7. Bertie Ahern: The first person I thought of when I read this was my mother, who absolutely fucking hates Bertie. I mean just point blank despises him to the point where other members of the family would say “He seems a good guy really” just to wind her up. My mum is staunchly Fine Gael and she thinks of Fianna Fáil in the same partisan way a football fan might hate their local rivals. So when I heard Bertie was set to go I was more interested in what my mum had to say than Gerry Adams, Tony Blair and the rest. Her take: “I’m so pleased!”
  8. Uniqlo: I love this shop, it surely will be in Ireland soon.

That’s all for now, hopefully I’m back on the blogging train now, but it’s never easy to be sure at the moment!