5 hours ago
Saturday, September 6
Hack: A day in the life
A comment over on Jim's blog annoyed me a bit recently...well lots of comments piss me off but this one warrants a post on my insignificant blog. Yes, I'm fishing there. It was a comment asking if there could ever be a 'bad Glastonbury or bad Electric Picnic' in the review stakes as the journos who go there - often for free - to review it, would never dole out a bad review for fear of exclusion the following year when the coveted press passes are being offered out.
As someone who came late-ish to journalism, I spend my day working in a busy, well-known Dublin paper. As you may or may not know, I also write for a few different publications/e-zines.
The dayjob can be shit and it can be fun - like any job.
And given the unpredictability of recent economic times, it can be depressing.
I have seen people with families and mortgages arrive to work in the morning and have no job by the evening. And I wish I was being dramatic, but I am not.
Things have gotten ugly.
And parallel to this, I have witnessed the clashes that occur between 'advertising' and 'journalism'. Ads make the money for the company and the journalists provide the vehicle for said ads as well as providing the bloody reason one buys the paper in the first place.
In an ideal world, journalism would be the incorruptible warrior of truth, drudging through the facts and figures to grasp the truth firmly by its throat and drag it kicking and screaming to the eyeballs of the lied-to proletariat. This is, of course, bollocks..but hopeful.
This high and mighty ideal is vaguely related to the whole reviewing thing too.
If any of the hacks who went to the Picnic filed a positive review after a crappy weekend, they should be ashamed. But I just don't think it has happened. And I would like to think that those of us who did go to Stradbally and review the event, gave an honest account of their time and didn't pretend they had a blast to try and secure next year's freebie.
Also, from my experience, having to file the negative review can be soooo much more fun than filing the positive one and I believe that if someone had thought the entire weekend was a load of pants then they would gleefully have banged out 2,000 scathing words, emailed it to the relevant editor and sat back to wait for the backlash calling them every name under the sun for having a differing opinion from the media masses.
Mostly, I have found, journos thrive on being told they are wrong/arseholes/ill-informed or whatever. Those reactions are the most fun. The highest paid, and sometimes even the best, writers are the ones that are despised by many of their readers. Basically, despite the fact that we are hated by millions, I enjoy being a journalist and believe I have found a career that suits me, that I have a genuine interest in and that I hope to do for the rest of my life. I did Arts in college, and then an English MA, so for such a directionless oik as myself to be able to say that I now have a direction is something, I can tell you.
Despite all that meandering, what I want to say is: I try to be honest in my writing and I hope others in my profession do too. Maybe I should have just posted that? Typical fucking long-winded, gasbag, egomaniacal hack.