I had an intriguing chat with a leading news reporter for the Lincolnshire Echo on Wednesday. She asked what I wanted to do with my career, and I announced, slightly embarrassed, that I wanted to be sent to some grotty horrible corner of the world to report on human suffering.
What a weird wish!
Yet, to my surprise and, ultimately, my delight, this reporter shared the very same dream. Not because we revel in human pain or discomfort, but because we both viewed this sort of journalism as the most noble form of what we do.
Yesterday, I conducted a quick poll. A quick poll consisting of one journalism-studying friend. She agreed: If the editor of her favourite news outlet (be it a newspaper, TV station or whatever) asked her to fly to, for the sake of example, Iraq, she would. Straight away, without hesistation.
How many of us would do this? So far I’ve asked two people, and both have said yes. And, if you include myself, that’s three out of three. 100%. Help me expand on this figure.
In an era of ‘churnalism’ dictating the news agenda – allegedly – is it the fault of the new breed of journalists that reporting is in such a bad state? Or are we just not given the wings to do what we dream?
It’s five years since we invaded Iraq. You already knew that. But have you seen this coverage from the New York Times? Proof, if proof were needed, that online journalism has incredible power to really tell a story — if done right. Sure, TV can provide pictures. Radio can give audio. Print can provide words and images.
Which medium can use all of those? Online. But that’s besides the point.
What I really want to stress is our challenge to the journalism industry:
Use us. We’re more than willing.