The 'misplaced' passion of being a journalist.

Were we childlike in our innocence when we believed (and still do) that this was never a job, no nine to five, it was a mission. I am appalled to learn that a very senior journalist has switched sides and gone to political PR where he will build up the image of those upon whom he once was a watchdog and sentinel on behalf of a relatively helpless public. I do not believe it when I hear it but it is true. I asked him why on earth he would be so treacherous as to become a gramophone voice. Not that I have anything against modern PR which resolutely writes better than professional journalists and has upped the bar with depth and content.

My daughter is in it full time and it is no longer about pleasing the boss but creating branding and maintaining a consistent image in that specific niche market. It is very hard work and frequently underestimated but it is not journalism in the traditional sense and if you have spent decades in this business of telling it like it is you cannot cross the street. So I say that to him. I say, how could you cross the street, you are a journalist not a corporate gloss over (my word and I coined it to indicate people who paint over flaws). Got tired, he says, the romance just oozed out, too many enemies, no money, this suits and tie stuff may look boring to you but is okay, it is safe and it is comfortable, easier to pay the bills and what are we doing anyway in media that is so exciting, bought and paid for. You walked out because of the money? My voice choked on the flawed sentiment, newspapering was never about the money. Suffering financially was integral to it.

The good was interred with your bones every day, the evil galloped into the night and early morning hours. He is unaffected by my sense of hurt. Yep, journalism isn't what we crack it up to be, it is going down the tube, take off your rose coloured specs, mate, and smell the coffee, there is no Horatius at the bridge, fending off the foes of mankind, wake up, no one cares anymore about our crusades. He says, we are delusional, we thought we could make a difference, it was only fooling ourselves, no one cares. They were never crusades, I snap back, they were the balancing factors between the 'them' and 'us', we had a role, to keep the ship straight. Ha, he responds, the arrogance of it all, you really thought we had a hand on the tiller, let me repeat this, we don't make any darn difference, even that mirage vanished years ago, PR, journalism...

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