Friday, 22 October 2010
Always look on the bright side of the newsroom
Since August I have been with trainees from the Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph in Howden and London. They were all hand-picked from journalism colleges and their talent is beyond doubt. We have certainly seen some stars of the not-too-distant future. But, as a couple of guests confirmed, journalism is as much about attitude as it is about skill. Be there early, be willing to go the extra yard, have an appetite for taking on projects and take the brickbats and the long hours on the chin. As Quentin Letts told the trainees, whatever you do, don't cry. When Mail news-editor Ben Taylor was asked what he wanted from them, he told them to smile. He enjoyed his job and didn't want to be surrounded by miserable people, he explained. And Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver, passing briefly through Howden, told them it "was all about relationships." Be nice to people, both your colleagues and those you deal with professionally, she said. Good advice. We have all worked with newsroom curmudgeons, determined to inflict their misery on all around them. That doesn't mean there shouldn't be conflict, disagreements, passionate arguments - all of these are the lifeblood of newspapers - but however tough it gets we shouldn't roll up every day looking as if we have lost a shilling and found a sixpence. So, even if the system doesn't work, you haven't had a pay rise in three years, half of your colleagues have been made redundant and you have a pile of Press Releases to plough through, be nice to others. Mind you, such advice clearly passed Nick Robinson by yesterday.