This is my first confession as a Cumbrian Journo, so I thought I’d fill you in on what I’ve been doing as a hack since starting full time a little while ago – in short it’s been a complete rollercoaster and I’ve been around some amazing inspiring people, and only some I could consider when counting the cows…
My job has been pretty obscure these past few months, I’ve basically been flicking from talking to local growing business and reporting on events to mixing it with the likes of Professor Brian Cox, Big Country, The Goldie Lookin’ Chain and Sir Bob Geldof and The Boomtown Rats – it’s been crazy!
It’s been crazy in the best of ways however, due to this and worst because I’ve let any writing for leisure time i.e. blogging or my attempt at being an author have slipped dramatically!
I’ve been to gig’s, festivals, gay pride events, science lectures and simply inches away from Sir Bob Geldof himself, you know, as you do. But with all this excitement, you must put into perspective the sheer blood sweat and tears it takes to get here, and I know as a performer, for us our job is done when we step off stage, for a reporter, it isn’t done until the article’s in print and in the hand of the readers!
But frankly, that’s not the blood sweat and tears, I quite frankly love writing and working to strict deadlines and word counts suits me well. It’s the hoops you must jump through and the counting some cows you come up against.
There’s so many lovely reporters and writers I’ve met since working full time, some I work with I respect and admire more than I can say, however I’ve come across one or two that have got my goat. It’s not that I have a problem with a select person or group of people it’s that I hate it when people lack journalistic integrity and professionalism(ness).
Over the past few months when I’ve been AWOL, I’ve been hard at work which has included ridiculous amounts of amazing interviews; some hilarious, some heartbreaking – in the case of Brian Cox, terrifying I won’t seem clever enough and in the case of Robin from strictly franky faaar too sexy to concentrate fully. I’ve mixed it with some amazing people and I can’t really give away who’s coming up! But obviously I’m not the only reporter interviewing, but when I’m waiting to interview I certainly never interrupted anyone else!
During one interview I had a person interrupt me twice, asking how long I’d be, and the band I was interviewing said “Oh aren’t they rude” – Awkward! Then at a festival, after I was interviewing another band a reporter I’ve locked horns with was stood there loudly talking about me to said band and making loads of stuff up, you know as you do in every professional situation.
There was no need to be rude or unprofessional, but with one person they just can’t seem to help themselves and frankly there’s no need. This said person has also annoyed me on the editorial side of business.
Since being promoted to the editorial team I understand that you simply must scrutinize every sentence you think could be copied and pasted or incorrectly researched, otherwise it can cause a lot of trouble. I can’t stand to see badly written, half-arsed research and sloppy editorial work. We have all been there. Gosh how many times have I gone, “Did I actually write that? My grammar is awful!” but I have some top notch people teaching me the editorial ropes and going through every mistake before it can happen.
This is definitely a cow I’ve counted – but on the positive, everyone has their own writing styles for different publications and of course not everyone can deal with the grammatical hoops that must be jumped through before anything goes to print!
[Seriously forget PMS, before print I get PNS – Pre newspaper stress that my work isn’t perfect enough!]
However when I do read work I’m not greatly impressed with it makes me more determined as a writer to better myself and make sure when I send my work to my editor I’ve quintuple checked it and proof read it a thousand times!
I’ve learnt a few things from counting these cows, the only work that really should worry me is my own and what’s printed under our publication, because no it doesn’t, because you know in your heart of hearts if that’s your work and publication at it’s best.
Also I’ve realised that, though I write my shorthand up as soon as I get home from an event, it’s like being at school again, as soon as I have the opportunity to write my article even when I’m not working etc, it’s best to get it done so you don’t feel the pressure two weeks before it goes to print!
Like any Lois Lane will understand, the superman of articles may be there, but you must face a few bad guys for the interviews and sometimes the bad guys are simply grammar errors as well as a couple of cows!
A funny note to end however, there genuinely was some actual cows distracting me one day whilst getting an article sourced… So how about that?!