Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The newspapers I love

When introducing myself to students or training delegates for the first time I'll describe myself as an inky-fingered old hack. This is literally true. When I started work on the Evening Leader back in 1988 the reporters still bashed away at old 'sit-up-and-beg' typewriters, on two sheets of folio paper (half A4) with a sheet of carbon paper between to produce a 'black' copy. The carbon paper would deposit its ink on your fingers and anything else you touched afterward.

When I started in journalism there were just two papers I wanted to work for. The first was the Liverpool Daily Post. I had grown up in North Wales reading this paper, where despite its 'Liverpool' title, it was the region's paper, a respected and trusted title, a serious newspaper. The fact that it was produced from Liverpool mattered little as most of North Wales looked to Liverpool as their major city, far more so than Cardiff because of simple logistics.

I ended up on the Post after four years on the Leader, and worked at the paper from 1992 to 1999, first as a reporter, then chief reporter, night news editor and finally night editor.

I did not take the well-trodden path from the regions to shifts on Fleet Street in hope of a permanent contract, so never looked like fulfilling my hope of working for the other paper I loved The Guardian.

I began reading that back in college, persuaded to give it a try, I kid you not, by the TV ad campaign back in 1984ish, featuring the likes of Harold Evans and Edna O'Brien.

When I went to University College, Cardiff (as was) to do a  journalism course, such was my devotion to the paper that one of my fellow postgrad hacks, Steve Busfield, gave me a badge of the Guardian masthead.

Steve made it onto the Guardian, where those of you who Twitter can follow him as @Busfield. I did not.

But then via a circuitous route that saw me go into training and media law, I ended up as co-author of McNae's Essential Law for Journalists and as such able to write about that niche subject. So for the past couple of years I've been filing contributions to Media Guardian on the subject. The pieces, though small, give me disproportionate pleasure. To get my name in what I regard as one of the world's great papers gives me as much of a buzz as getting my first front page on the Evening Leader back in 1988.

Still a hack then, just not so inky-fingered.

1 comment:

Annette Strauch said...

I am a German living in Wales. I grew up with a daily paper, the HNA; and on Saturdays I'd read a paper from Göttingen.

At uni I'd read "Die Zeit" and the English "The Independent". Now I read "Y Cymro" in Wales, and on Sundays, "The Sunday Times".

Kind regards from Annette