Posted by: Ciaran | March 23, 2010

Production day fifteen

I was a district reporter today, so I was out in the fog early in the morning tramping around Canton in search of news. Nothing was falling in to my lap, and my patch was pretty quiet. Fortunately, thanks to a tip-off from the newsdesk, I managed to pick up a story about a local historian who is searching for descendants of a family of chimney sweeps.

After spending a very interesting hour or so chatting to Graham, I went and met up with another one of my contacts. He didn’t really have any news for me, but we had a very interesting discussion about the media industry, so I’ve picked out a few of his comments and included them below with some thoughts.

I enjoyed hearing a perspective on journalism from someone who only consumes it, rather than creates it and consumes it. I feel like a lot of the people who shout loudest about media are those in the industry, and it’s all too easy to forget about the most crucial people: the audience. So, here’s what he said:

  • “Do I really care what Katie Price is doing? Do I really care about the celebrities? No, news is about what’s happening on the street. They have got to realise that we are the news – we are all the news.” Not true for everyone, admittedly. If it was, gossip magazines and tabloids wouldn’t sell half as well as they do. But it was quite interesting to be reminded that there is a broader audience in this celebrity day and age…
  • “The days of everyone walking around with a copy of that day’s Echo in their back pocket are gone.” – In other words, the internet is taking over. Again, interesting from a man who I’d expect to be a conventional newspaper reader: early 50s, active in his community, and the owner of a shop. And, by his own admission, a bit of a technophobe.
  • “You aren’t going in to journalism for the money – you’re going for the scoop.” – Couldn’t have put it better myself!
  • “If I do read the paper, I tend to read either the Daily Mail or the Daily Express. They’re sort of in the middle between The Sun and The Times. But really I just watch the TV news, because you can’t trust papers as much. And I prefer ITV news to the BBC, because ITV end on a happy story whereas the BBC has no personality.” – Intriguing notion (though probably one quite widely held) that television news is more trustworthy than anything you’d find in the papers. And also a reminder that people like a bit of something light rather than being depressed by the news all the time.
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