The end is nigh.

…nigh?  That’s possibly the first time I’ve ever used that word.

  Last July I posted that I was launching a foray into the world of news journalism.  Nine months later and i’m two weeks from the finishing line.  To say I’m counting the days is an understatement; what in God’s name possessed me to go back to university!?  Had I forgotten the endless days of unrelaxation and guilt at not being in the library?  The poverty? The frantic cramming before exams and that miserable day before a deadline when you truly believe it’s never going to be ok again.

  Right now I’ve not got one assignment to do, not even two, but three at least.  A TV piece due in next week to be edited in Final Cut.  I have my topic: Edinburgh Trams.  I have my interviews in the bag – TIE and the SNP.  I have my establishing shots of Princes St, dug up and noisy with pipes exposed and a confusing maze of ‘pedestrians this way’ signs.  What I still don’t have is an edited smooth beautiful piece.  I have yet to do my ‘piece to camera’ .  This involves perilously setting up my camera on the street and daring to walk far enough away from it that I can then deliver a smooth piece of journalism, no hair out of place and praying for two minutes of ned-free airtime.

  An essay on public affairs – granted I wasn’t interested in this topic AT all at first.  What I knew about politics would fit quite neatly on a regular-sized (nae Christmas specials for me, pal!) postage stamp.  One thing I have gained from this course is an understanding and I’m grateful that finally I understand what the heck FMQ’s, recess, PMOS and spin doctor all mean.

  My topic? Spin in the media and whether the the reporting of politics is damaging to the democracy due to fascination with personality and comment.  I’m actually finding it quite interesting (shhhh…don’t tell).  If you haven’t read it already, take a look at Blair’s final speechEU BLAIRI’m in two minds.  As a newly qualified journalist I spend my days sifting through publications, researching facts and lifting quotes.  The one hard and fast rule of journalism is ‘fair and impatial reporting of the facts, no comment’.  So I’m confused as to when and how it became an everyday occurrence for comment by journalists.  There are a few whose opinion is of interest – Jeremy Paxman, Robert Peston, Charlie Brooker.  But what of these hundreds of columns of unknowns?  The argument could be that they may become ‘knowns’ someday.  But somewhere within the comment I lose track of the fact, the real news.

  The third piece i’m working on is a web report, incorporating video.  Why bother?  Well, in the job market as it stands there is no place for a newly qualified journalist: fact.  Too many experienced journalists are out of work and willing to take on the roles normally reserved for trainees; assistant, runner, officer.  Instead the tactic is to be as competent in multimedia as possible; hence I am now qualified in TV, radio and web journalism.  My web piece is on the ASIMO robot, which came to Edinburgh last week for the science festival.  asimoI’ll post a link to my piece as soon as it’s completed, as the inventor is brilliant – he’s the epitome of the crazy scientist, bushy eyebrows and all, and does a great demonstration to my camera of ASIMO’s antennae.


It’s doubtful I’ll get a job right away but hey ho, at least I can now shoot credible video and my voice no longer sounds resembles a squeaky chipmunk, thanks to Larry and her voice classes. 

  Bring on the summer!


One Response to “The end is nigh.”

  1. Robin Says:

    Good stuff.

    There’s another issue relating to media impartiality I find interesting: the manufactroversy, or artificial controversy. This occurs with an issue where virtually all rational commentators/experts are in agreement, but the media seek out isolated individuals who have an opposing opinion. Then they give the fringe opinion at least half of the focus in the piece they’re doing, giving the false impression to the public that a controversy exists. The MMR/autism media hoax is a recent prime example.

    Impartiality and balance shouldn’t mean giving undue attention to fringe beliefs that aren’t supported by the evidence.

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