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Re: How thick do you have to be to be a journalist?

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 4:27 pm
by ezinra
'Journalist' is quite a big tent. Does Littlejohn even have a background in reporting? He's written an opinion column for as long as I can remember; that's nothing like what an agency stringer does, or a copy editor on a trade magazine.

Most journalists have a humanities background. The biggest sector of the media is the trade press, and few young journos have prior knowledge or experience of the industries they cover. Back in the day, they'd be given time to develop contacts and read up on the trade, under the mentorship of a senior journalist. That doesn't happen any more. As a result, they are absolutely dependent on corporate PR departments. Modern journalism is about rewriting press releases to make them as readable as possible, and perhaps contacting a lobbyist or consultant to get an opposing point of view. Quickly.

I worked in the trade press and for a wire service, and I could not describe my colleagues as thick. One of my fellow copy-editor/translators spoke half a dozen languages and was a published poet. In fact, there were quite a few would-be literary types for whom journalism was the day job. Another colleague had been a senior reporter on The Economist and the FT; he wrote extremely elegantly (though slowly), and was a stickler for accuracy. He was also a several-times-divorced alcoholic, a victim of the long-hours culture and editorial power politics. His contempt for management and proprietors was visceral.

By the time I quit (early 2000s), my workload had increased and changed dramatically. Although I'd been hired primarily as a translator, I was being asked to write more and more stories from scratch (or rather, from a press release). My 'speciality' was expanded to include stock and bond markets and financial services, although I'd never studied economics or worked in finance. My colleague who did the write-ups on the German desk had come straight from university with a PhD in French philosophy. We were working 10- and 12-hour shifts. The company was in trouble: where once newsrooms had paid good money for wire services, most of the information was now available for nothing on the internet or on Bloomberg. Our targets became speed-related: time spent checking details was time wasted. Revenues went into computer 'platforms' and programs for which we received no training. We'd been effectively de-skilled. The office had become a factory.

There's no room for intelligence in a factory, only cunning.

Re: How thick do you have to be to be a journalist?

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 6:14 pm
by Tubby Isaacs
'Journalist' is quite a big tent. Does Littlejohn even have a background in reporting?
I think he was an industrial correspondent at some point.

Re: How thick do you have to be to be a journalist?

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 7:15 pm
by Malcolm Armsteen
It depends on how you define thick.

In terms of Gardner's Multiple Intelligences I can see that most journalists (but not all) would score highly on Linguistic Intelligence.
Probably neutral on Spatial, Bodily Kinaesthetic* and Musical.
Low on Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Logical-Mathematical and Naturalistic.

In a society which depends so much on the written word a high score on Linguistic often masks the fact that other scores are low. See so many comments, apart from anything else. Written clearly, but clearly bonkers. Bonkers is a technical term here, you'll understand, indicating low scores in Inter and Intra-personal and L-M. And wherever global warming is mentioned, Naturalistic.

*James Delingpole looks like he isn't a high scorer here, either. Nor for that matter, RL.

Re: How thick do you have to be to be a journalist?

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 9:54 pm
by Big Rob
Andy McDandy wrote:Rob, the Mail is not anti-science. It just knows its readership are deeply reactionary and suspicious of anything new. Until, that is, the new thing is proved useful. Then they were behind it all along.
Well I will never see them coming around to global warming until it is too late.
Antiscience proponents also criticize what they perceive as the unquestioned privilege, power and influence science seems to wield in society, industry and politics; they object to what they regard as an arrogant or closed-minded attitude amongst scientists." onclick=";return false;

Yup I stick by my claim....

Re: How thick do you have to be to be a journalist?

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 10:23 pm
by satnav
With a lot of writers on the Mail it is often difficult to tell if they are thick or just lazy. I just read this article by Steve Doughty who tries to claim that the chaos in social care can be blamed on John Major ... ystem.html

Had he done even the most basic research he would have discovered this claim to be totally rubbish. The chaos was actually caused by Thatcher who tinkered with the benefit system to create a situation in which private nursing homes and residential care homes could charge £400 - £500 a week to care for elderly people because the DSS footed the bill but local authority care homes were only paid around £150 a week for providing the same service. The result of this policy was a sharp rise in the number of private care homes being built by spivs out to make a quick killing and at the same time many local authorities were forced to close down their care homes. By the time Major became PM it was clear that the system was unsustainable.