Monday, May 11, 2009

Romantic Writes



I have a rather romanticised view of newspaper journalism. In my head, my career is a palate of black and white, full of soft-focus close ups and high-speed car chases. With the pen as my sword, I talk fast, and break hearts. I am impeccably dressed, with rouge on my lips and a closet full of bold-shouldered jackets and spindly high heels. Editorial meetings take place in a room clouded with smoke where I, with a fag suspended between my lips, get sent off to chase that lead. I live on caffeine, guzzling numerous cups of coffee while I sit in front of my typewriter. I am a hard-hitting journalist who doesn't take no for an answer.

"... opening up the newspaper is the key to looking classy and smart. Never mind the bronze-plated stuff about the role of the press in democracy -- a newspaper, Kiddo, is about style."
But in reality, everything is different. There is no longer the demand for investigative journalism as there once was - there just aren't the funds any more and readers want short, snappy pieces, not articles that will change a law they never knew existed in the first place. The size of editorial staff is getting smaller and smaller as money is taken away from print journalism and injected into whatever the new media fad is. Though there probably is some truth in the saying that journalists are machines who convert coffee into copy, I just can't stand the stuff, let alone cigarettes. Well, at least I still get to dress up all I like and talk with a Brooklyn accent. 

Two of my favourite writers have dabbled in journalism, so surely they know what they're talking about:
"But what is the difference between literature and journalism?
... Journalism is unreadable and literature is  not read. That is all."
-Oscar Wilde

"Once a newspaper touches a story, the facts are lost forever, even to the protagonists."
-Norman Mailer

Ah yes, everybody's a critic.


Sheena said...

Can't we just pretend and stick with the romance? Yes yes I think we can. ;D

Love this post. Well said.

Ellen said...

Thank you!