In a report by human resources experts, if you’ll forgive the oxymoron, guess what they reckon is the worst job of all?
Yes, of course, it’s ‘newspaper reporter’ just ahead of ‘broadcaster’. Both ranked higher than lumberjack, soldier and pest control officer (it’s an American study, they’re big on lumberjacks.)
So there you have it. Even the Americans think our job is worse than one where you get shot at, have trees fall on you or have to face a swarm of killer bees.
Perhaps they have a point. Things have changed. At local papers now, eager young trainees hoping to be a future war correspondent, stare at a screen and rewrite press releases.
While in the online national newsrooms, trainees who spent four years learning media at university, find all their skills are needed to come up with a new way to describe a Kardashian’s bottom – ‘sorry Tarquin, try again, we’ve already used up our quota of peachy behinds, pert posteriors and famous derrieres this week’.
The poor kids have to churn out these stories like workers in a factory sweatshop in the Far East making fake Chelsea shirts for fake Chelsea fans.
What many don’t do – and I’m sorry for sounding like one of those ‘back in my day’ merchants – is get their own stories as they might do if they were learning the ropes at a press agency, for example.
If you want to bring back even a bit of excitement to the job of newspaper reporter, then they need to go out and get a story, write it and see it appear in print. That thrill never leaves you.
Of course, why would they want to go outside their air-conditioned offices with a subsidised Costa Coffee, pizza Fridays and table football?
Who wants to step outside to speak to real people only to have some misguided idiot call you a scumbag for daring to ask a question?
There was a report that a BBC journalist was manhandled by demonstrators at Grenfell Tower this week. But then who needs journalists when you have Lily Allen to tell you what’s going on?
Meanwhile, a glance at social media these days tells you how much the world hates reporters.
It only takes one agitator to make up a story about a Sun reporter posing as a relative in order to visit a hospital-bound fire victim for Twitter’s army of useful idiots to run it as fact and stir up hatred.
And then you get thousands applauding a Tweet condemning the Daily Mail for NOT breaking the law of contempt. Their crime? Failing to call the Finsbury Park incident terrorism before the police have said so and while the main suspect is in custody.
Twitter accusations do not appear to be bound by the same laws as newspapers.
Perhaps we need a Leveson-style mandate for former dogging footballers, whoring actors and right-on children’s authors to be sued if they run rumour as fact. Or let’s have a watchdog to rule on them. We could call it Iptoss and have it run by a panel of washed-up celebrities who have been exposed by newspapers in the past.
An occasional blog by a National Association of Press Agencies member who has asked to remain anonymous