Monday, 23 March 2009

The Cru*ch

I work in a pub. And we are banned from using the double C word. Not the C word, mind, that we can use freely i presume, there is no memo on that. But there is a memo about the double C word.

To be honest, I hate this term and I would love to know who came up with it so that I could throw stones at them. It fits into the category of the 'baby boomers', terms that will live with us forever. I am so tired of it and wonder why we can't all call it the 'recession' like normal people in time gone by when it happened before.

I always thought that the pub trade would never die during a recession. People would always go to the pub and maybe even drown their sorrows and the UK would see a rise in number of alcoholics, with pub landlords driving Lamborghini's.

In reality? We are doing just as badly as everyone else. There was a hope that all of the rich people in the UK who dined at The Fat Duck every night (and didn't have food poisoning) would downgrade a bit and come to us. This has happened to an extent - we've had some very interesting posh customers who look as though they are worried they are going to catch something from an East End builder.

But this isn't enough and the future looks bleak for all of us. As a fellow pub owner's daughter expressed recently, we can only hope that we will have a bloody glorious summer and people will seek out the pubs in an effort to recreate the summer holiday abroad that they can't afford this year.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

News from the hub

I'm in a newsroom. Yes I am. No more poxy magazines, where even the editor wears a ripped pair of jeans. No no, I'm in the clean-cut, suit-wearing newsroom at the Yorkshire Post. And it's not at all how I had pictured it.

It's like a time warp and I feel that I should be uncovering some kind of scandal in Watergate. The phones are browning from age, the filing cabinets are those grey drawers with silver handles and the name tag. On top of the cabinet is an old tv showing Look North news. Not very hard hitting.

And it's quiet! This is the most astonishing thing! I always thought that newsrooms were loud and manic, like the trading room floor in Canary Wharf. But all you can hear is the odd phone ringing and the photocopier. Where are the deadlines?

Okay, so this is not the best example of a newsroom. I'm sure everyone at the Indpendent is running around, worried that maybe one less person will buy their newspaper tomorrow. But actually, my best friend works at the Independent (god bless her soul) and I know for a fact that she is either emailing me all day or playing table football, which is a new addition to her office. Hmm. who writes these pages? My last blog was about citizen journalism and whether or not we should rely on the 'people' as a news source. But now i'm thinking that yes, certainly. Because I don't see anyone writing the news here...

Saturday, 2 February 2008

The Future is Bloggered

I like to think that I will come out of my degree with a specialism in online journalism. When I was working in my pub last year I came across the editor of ElleOnline who told me that print journalism is dead, why the hell am I doing a magazine journalism course, and I had better bloody well come out of it knowing CSS.

This woman scared me. I'm spending nearly 8 grand on my degree and it might be defunct in a few years? So I went in with high hopes of doing every online and web-based course that the universiy would offer. This has turned me into a bitter lady.

Last week the BBC aired a programme called Wonderland: Virtual Adultery and Cyberspace Love.
It focused on the weird programme 'Second Life', an internet chat room that allows users to totally ignore their real lives and create a second life for themselves, making them into hotter, sexier and generally better people than they are. The programme profiled two couples who had found each other on Second Life and fell in love. One couple married (in the programme, not real life) and another couple made their 'avatars' (the characters) have sex. Seriously. It was like something out of that movie with Sly Stallone and Sandra Bullock who have sex using those helmets and no physical touching. The name escapes me.

This distraught hour of my life made me realise that some people would rather live their lives in the internet than in the real world. And I can only see this becoming increasingly the norm.

Every week I sit in my online journalism class and hear about how journalists are dead. The rise of the citizen journalist, us bloggers, is going to report from the war zones, upload their story to the net and allow reader comments. The Guardian has got on this bandwagon with 'comment is free' and it sees anyone from bricklayers to politicians contributing to it. Lots of people on my course have written on it.

Now, it may be crap journalism, it's one-sided and badly spelt. But does blogging mean the end of jouralists? More and more journos are starting to blog and this is what my scary Elle editor was trying to tell me I think: that to make it in this world as a journalist, you' have to learn how to use the internet to your advantage. Express your views in your blog, upload your own videos and podcasts and allow readers to comment, get a loyal following. So that when the print dies (and the trees start to grow again), you are not left unemployed.

My university realised this this year and have now introduced an online course for everyone. We are all expected to blog, make websites, upload podcasts, the lot.

But it is the select 8 of us who attend our friday online specialisms who see the big picture. That most of the bloggers out there are ordinary citizens and they are going to take our jobs. That as more people emerse their lives in the internet and less so in the real life, they will have more involvement with making, researching and finding the news themselves and rely less on us journalists. Our small class discuss these issues for two hours a week. We see the technology that enters the market each week and cry about how this will affect the future. My guess (especially after seeing this bbc programme)? The future is fucked for those who like to live in the real world.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

The Start of the End

Well well, I am approaching the end of my experiencing week as a journalist for Broadcast. My finest moment? conquering my fear of uberphotocopiers - the ones that have so many options and so many buttons but no writing next to the buttons to tell you what that button means. Having nearly got fired from a job last year for not being able to work the copier, and then on using the Broadcast one for the first time and getting a paper jam instantly, I was adding 'photocopiers' to my list of 5 fears. I was happily offering to copy everything out long-hand five times. But then I got it. My proudest moment.

No, no. I have learnt a few things. I can publish things on websites and I can tell you all about the upcoming telly for 2008.

On a personal note this week, I had my first turn at running the shop in the pub I work at. This was meant to be plain-sailing because it was just a quiet Sunday night. But a group of regulars decided to get so blind drunk that one knocked over the Christmas tree and then spilt a tray of vodka shots all over himself. So I had to refuse to serve regular customers, which is a painful thing for a barmaid to do and a way to make you very unpopular with your 'friends'. I know put 'friends' in '' ever since my boyfriend told me that in the East End, a 'friend' is only your 'friend' if you have known them for ten years or more. Less than this, they are your buddy or your mate. 'Friend' can also be preceeded with the word 'gangster' in the pub he works at the as the source of this information.

Also in my week, I got a grand total of 3 hours of Christmas shopping done. Most of it actually turned out to be for myself. But then as I look at my miscellaneous trinkets of crap (also known as christmas presents), I come to wonder why I bought myself a pair of socks with reindeer on. for £2! Was I in the festive spirit? No, because Covent Garden was like something out of Dawn of the Dead or those mad american movies with Arnold who is hunting down for the only remaining toy in town.

And then I returned home to find an email from Tesco online, who very reassuredly told me that if I bought a CD online, it would most definately arrive in time for Christmas, but this new email informed me that it would not be despatched until Saturday. Sorry Ewan. You don't get anything until New Year. Bastards.

Even more desparate to go home now. As I am organising get togethers with old friends and the countdown begins: 1 week to go, I am in need of a glass of mulled wine, a sing song of Christmas carols, a play on my grand piano and a hug from my mum. T minus 4 days.

Friday, 7 December 2007

End of Experiencing week

Oh good lord, it's nearly the weekend. Have to say that i'm glad i'm not here for just a week because it has gone by so quickly. I've learnt all about putting things onto websites, so now i feel fully teched up. modern journalist, me.
talking of modern journalism, i've noted something about the online world of blogging and newswriting. How many capitals and correct grammar is in this blog? I reckon that, in another few years, all grammar will be defunct and we will, in a few more years after that, start talking like a data-inputting computer.
Enough of that thought.

Plans for this weekend: working. great. But I am going to thoroughly relax on saturday and sunday during the days. Maybe do a spot of Sunday Christmas shopping. This week I have had to write 5 assignments and it has slowly killed me. I've got a couple more assignments for when I go back in January and I'm going to try and do them next week so that I can have a well deserved 2 week holiday. As i've moaned plenty before, 2 week holidays don't come around very often.

It's the pub Christmas party this Sunday night, which may be interesting. We all get along freakishly well and have a terrible habit of getting very very drunk indeed. I will have to get up at 6.50 Monday morning no matter what levels of sobriety I'm in. Can't wait! Actually no, last week was utterly unbearable going to work with the hangover from hell.

I've started to get very Christmassy indeed. I'm smiling innanely and acting like a four year old. I beat my "I'm a sad loser" record this week: before it was downloading the Lee Mead album from iTunes. But this week, I downloaded a Christmas Carols album. Not funky Christmas tunes sung by the Pogues or Bing Crosby, no. The Worcester Cathedral Choir. Get in. I'm sad and I know it. I think this is the first year in a long time that I've got excited about Christmas. Maybe I should stave off going home more often.

The prospect of some RnR right now fills me with Christmas glee. I can't wait. and I think I derserve it.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Experiencing Week

Day two in life as a worker. My course finished for Christmas in November. All rather strange, but it was only to send us out for six weeks to experience life as a real life journalist...
Bear this in mind: I WANT A HOLIDAY!
It occured to me this weekend as I was at my pub, doing a shift and not having a day off all week, that I haven't had a holiday since August. Now, that goes for most people, but this holiday was only one week. My last 2 week holiday was probably last Christmas. That was 12 whole months ago. I don't even get my weekends off. I once went 27 days without a single day off, and I was working 67 hours a week.
Now, this is all completely self inflicted as I love my pub job and don't want to give it up. But my stress levels are getting worryingly high.
Worst thing about this week: I have to be in at 8.30 and don't get paid.
Best thing about this week: I'm going to see the Golden Compass tomorrow night. But my boyfriend is a mad crazy fan and will probably cry at seeing his favourite characters come to life before his eyes. Sob.

Friday, 16 November 2007