Saturday 14 November 2009

Newspaper Girl sticks it to Monbiot

Liked this posting from Newspaper Girl on George "the local press isn't worth saving" Monbiot's latest Comment is Free article. She's angry and her passion for her paper shines through.
"Opinion columns are 10-a-penny. With respect, although I understand that you are a 'highly experienced' journalist, no-one on the street gives two hoots about what you say. It doesn't affect their daily lives in any way, like it or lump it. Sorry to offend you.
"Similarly, national and international news is really easy to access - if Gordon Brown was to stand down tomorrow, I'd have instant access to that information. I could find it on TV, I could find it on the internet, I could get it in the Guardian with a six-page pullout special.
"However, what about proper news? What about that Tesco which is being planned for the out-of-town settlement? (We have one on our patch too - they must be everywhere) What about the victim of a robbery who has lost a valuable and sentimental item? What about the war hero whose medals have been stolen? What about the 15-year-old who is climbing a mountain to raise money for cancer after losing his mother and grandmother on the same day? Is the Guardian going to report those events? Doubtful. We perform a public service and we make a hell of a lot of people happy. We give information and we investigate.
"The journalists who work on local newspapers are talented, dedicated people. We don't get paid v much but we don't do it for the money. We genuinely do it for the love of the job - for helping someone get rid of the damp in their homes that have been plaguing them for 15 years (and yes, that actually happened to me. The lady was ecstatic).
"We are working our balls off and morale IS low. We don't always have time. Sometimes, we make mistakes. We are trying to deal with a challenging newspaper environment, an industry which is constantly evolving. As reporters, we often want to evolve with it, but can't because of concerns that reach far beyond our editors and immediate managers. But we are trying and we WILL succeed.
"So yes, granted, some newspapers are in the pockets of the council, but some strike a really important balance. For example, I really don't want to reveal which paper I work for cos I could get my ass kicked, but the last two issues, I've found out that the council are spunking money left right and centre on stupid things. We've written a piece. We've had incredible reaction from the people on our patch.
"No doubt you'll disagree, George, and I'm very sorry if my answer doesn't meet your incredibly high standards. But how about supporting your local paper instead of degrading it? You might find that you could learn a thing or two about PROPER journalism."

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