Monday, 7 May 2012

Amusing to dream - a Fleet St nightmare to live

Sleep: Salvador Dali
I dream fairly regularly. If it's just before waking in the moments after my alarm clock bleeps, I wake sometimes remembering fragments. Mostly my subconscious deals in mundane anxiety situations.
This morning's episode made me chuckle because it summed up a position I found myself in a number of times as a journalist.
I was standing in front of an authority figure seated at his desk - perhaps an editor, certainly my superior. He may or may not have had The Financial Times open in front of him.
"Why didn't we have this story?" he demanded of one of the most serious offences in newspapers, as grave as it was unavoidable.
In my early days as a journalist I found myself dealing with under-employed editorial executives, who seemed to have no other job than scouring rivals' newspapers finding stories I had missed.
The more experienced I became, the better I was in dealing with such confrontations when they arose happily on fewer and fewer occasions.
The most effective answer was: "I thought it was an old story." Newspapers have a horror of  printing news that had already run elsewhere.
I'd return to my office and check other papers praying they had been equally negligent. Invariably a few had allowing me to tell my accuser that newspapers X, Y, and Z must have thought as I had and spiked the article.
If we were the only one who had missed the story then the easiest explanation was to blame the PR responsible as David Cameron is discovering these days.

1 comment:

  1. Who actually is handling his government's PR these days ?

    ReplyDelete

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