Friday, September 10, 2021

Why I'm still proud to call myself a journalist

I was even more excited than usual when I received David Parkin's Friday newsletter today

We'd met up on Tuesday in Stockport and I'd given him the grand tour of my adopted town. He did say it would get a mention in his lively round-up at the week's end.

So imagine my surprise when I saw the headline: "David Parkin meets a true showbiz legend". Aw shucks David, that's too kind, I blushed.

Of course, he didn't mean me. He was talking about meeting Irish comedian Jimmy Cricket last Friday at the Bradford Club.

He did give a very warm account of our trek around Stockport's cobbled streets. Warm, of course, is very much the operative word as we enjoyed the last of our English summer. 

David described me - and thus himself - as "fellow former journalist". In the sense that we aren't editors for well-respect business publications any longer, that description is true. But I enjoy David's company, his writing and his insights precisely because he is very much a journalist, a kindred spirit.

I've just subtly changed my Twitter biog and my LinkedIn description to reflect this sentiment.

I'm working for myself these days - and am available for projects. But the thing that always gives me the most pleasure, the thing I hope I can bring to anything I work on, always comes back to journalism. The importance of a story, the discipline of a structured approach to doing it, and an appreciation of the voices of others. Wrapped around all of that is the cornerstone of being fair and accurate. 

Both my undergraduate dissertation in 1988 and my MSc thesis in 2020 were described as 'journalistic'. On both occasions, it wasn't intended as a compliment, but I'm taking it as one. I'm not an academic, I'm a journalist, who is practising his craft in the academic field. I've done other jobs over the years that haven't been editorial, but the bits that have worked best have been around communicating a story and harnessing a network. Yes, when Neil and I talk between records on Tameside Radio, or when I've written a speech on cyber security and industrial strategy for Peter Mandelson.

I thought the same when I was at Dave Haslam's book launch last night in West Didsbury. Dave has sold his record collection, but it's given him the stimulus to write a short book about it. When I first came across him in the 1980s he was editing a fanzine. He's a classic polymath, skilled and diligent at whatever he does. But he's always been a journalist too and that's a skill he's crafted and a title he's earned.

I'll return to this theme again soon, but in the meantime, as David Parkin says at the end of his peerless weekly missive: Have a great weekend. 

1 comment:

George Dearsley said...

Hmmm...this piece made me nostalgic for the old days. I've just had a piece about my book 12 Camels published in the local paper in London where I was born (The Hackney Gazette). I was delighted that the young. female reporter seemed enthusiastic, accepted my Press release and diligently prepared it for publication. I sent her an email saying "this won't be the most important story you'll ever handle but you've made an old man happy". But inside I regretted that she probably won't have the excitement that we enjoyed. Shame.