Ahh, the life of a journalist – it’s all glamorous parties, champagne, interviewing Gary Barlow and getting or giving the latest goss… Or so we all like to imagine. In reality you can often end up interviewing your besties Gran about her work for the church or stood in the freezing cold night in complete danger.
I’ve done my fair share of mundane articles. I think anyone who’s a trainee or takes freelance work will end up doing the article on something that’s less than glamorous. But then again, sometimes you do meet people you’d never expect! Take Last Friday night for example: Every year in my home town there is something called The Crab Fair. It was established in 1267 – yes the 13th Century! Over the years we’ve had Angie Brown, Michaela Strachan, Leanne Jones and other acts or ‘celebs’ likes this… But this year we got Gareth Gates and Kelly Wilde (Yes, 80’s ‘Gloria’ singing disco diva Kelly Wilde for which me and every gay man were excited about!)… Now working for the local paper I put my tenacity and patience to work and guaranteed myself an interview with Gareth Gates. He was pretty much the biggest thing to happen to our small town since Michaela Strachan in 2002. So an interview was a must.
Skip to the actual night and it was the sheer definition of unglamorous: Cold, dark, streets filled with drunk people and me stood there in my best tailored blazer and peplum. After a month of being in contact with a certain Pop Idol’s manager – literal back and forth messages – I was promised at least a few comments and a photo. What happens, I got a taste of the shocking and unglamorous.
At the end of Kelly Wilde’s set I made my way backstage to see if I could get a quote or two. In truth, I got a full conversation, photos, an e-mail address to send her the article aaaand her mobile number just so I could keep in touch because she thought I was that awesome. In fact she said I rivalled the beautiful Lois Lane and hoped I found my Superman. I explained that I had and that I was getting married in ten months. To which she said ‘oh tell me if you need a singer!’
But I have digressed. When it got to Garth Gates I got to meet him, but he bypassed the photo with a girl in a wheelchair, I didn’t get my interview, just a comment. No photo, just a blurry shot of him walking away. Like my Editor said: ‘I hate this celebrity cult-mind they form.’ I ‘d waited hours, well months, to wait around in the freezing cold almost being groped to be cast aside because I was a local journo looking to write a story on him. Well not to whine any more, I got one. I just hate peoples attitudes sometimes!
My friend said ‘oh how glamorous. You get to meet famous people ect.’ When it comes to the hard facts you can be seen as vermin when looking for a story, devils to the cheaters and in sheer danger when your a twenty-something girl walking the dark, drunk filled streets at night looking for a story – even in your own local town, I’ll admit I felt frightened being alone with drunk gropey fellas everywhere.
One of the most unglamorous comparisons I heard for journo’s is ‘like ladies of the night you walk the streets in search of work’ and ‘Like scavengers in the wild, looking for your chance to feed on someone else’s misery’ – I can see why this could be said. I don’t give up when I want something but I think I will stick with the comparison to Lois Lane for me.
A hack, a journo, a reporter. Whatever you want to call a journaloust – in the words of Tim Minchin. As long as you’ve got passion and leave your personal feelings at the door – as everyone will have some personal feelings about something they have to write about – and enjoy it! We watch and write about history. In fact the day the Berlin Wall fell (9th November 1989) it didn’t just appear on the front of Newspapers, someone had to write about it, for it to be there. That could be you or me next time! Going down in history, even if you have to start with writing about church fairs to begin with. Every job has its unglamorous factors and we all experience them sooner or later.
Sorry if this was a bit of ramble, but I must leave you with your thoughts and opinions on Journalism as I dally in sunny Istanbul, Turkey.