I am not a complete Luddite. I recognise that in these difficult times journalists must learn to adapt and evolve, even if that does mean taking pictures and video on a camera phone and returning to the office to update multimedia offerings before sitting down to the mundane task of actually writing a story.
My beef is that hacks aren’t being properly training in these ancillary skills, and none of us likes doing something unless we can do it well.
Take online news broadcasts, for instance. It simply isn’t fair to thrust some poor old bugger to whom excellence in Pitman’s was the essential required skill and then expect him to turn in a polished and professional telly performance. In 99 cases out of 100, it just isn’t going to happen. Hence the abysmal collection of botched broadcasts littering newspaper websites up and down the country.
Here’s just one – and it’s by no means the worst. Northern Echo assistant editor Nigel Burton sits down for a ‘casual’ chat with chief sports writer Scott Wilson to explain that Kevin Keegan hadn’t after all been sacked by Newcastle United. (I suspect that morning’s newspaper might have suggested otherwise.)
Scroll down and it’s on the left. If you get past 1minute 30 seconds then buy yourself a pint.
Incidentally, if you want to stitch up one of your mates over a pitiful performance, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We could even have a competition …