That about sums up my life at the moment. In a good way, of course.
Working at PoliticsHome feels like I’m plugged into some kind of news matrix. Stories, on air transcripts, press releases, links, tweets, blogs, you name it. If it has anything to do with UK politics, it’s there. And it’s great to write.
The site prides itself on breaking news as fast as possible and I’m doing my best. I get a little thrill every time I scoop the BBC News channel. Sad I know. For a measure of the dedication of the team, staff are working from the early hours of the morning to midnight. Politics never sleeps.
This morning I was up for a 4am start. A year ago I thought that was a decent time to consider heading home from a night club. How things change…
Yesterday national newspapers went mad with the news that Vince Cable had made yet another blunder: leaving confidential constituency documents outside his constituency office. But eagle-eyed readers would have noticed that these articles lacked details. The documents ‘had been found’, ‘were seen’. Only one article I read condescended to mention ‘a local newspaper’.
That local newpaper was The Richmond and Twickenham Times, who ran the story, along with pictures and details of the actual documents found, first. The paper is in the same office as The Surrey Comet, where I do work experience. The Friday before all the letters were given to a journalist, Christine Fleming, by an anonymous whistleblower who had been picking up the neglected papers for some time.
That day we started sorting them and for the next week everyone worked tirelessly sifting through all the documents to create an outstanding seven-page exclusive for yesterday’s paper. One national newspaper paid for the story but, disappointingly, others were happy to erase the Richmond and Twickenham Times from their reports completely.
It made me really sad, Christine deserves so much more. I wonder how many stories are siphoned off like this, how many reporters’ hard work goes unnoticed and local papers’ glory gets stolen. Journalism really is dog-eat dog.
On the plus side, I did make a brief appearance on ITV’s London Tonight. Albeit studiously typing in the background while the editor was interviewed. Best cameo ever.
Read the full Cable story along with documents, pictures and more juicy details than you can shake a stick at here.
In other news, Steve Bell, the Guardian’s political cartoonist gave a lecture at The University of York last night. It was fantastic hearing him describe how he picks out politicians’ features and revisiting some of his iconic work on Thatcher, Blair and Cameron. He also told us that he uses photographs deemed to graphic or disturbing to publish as the basis of his war cartoons. From now on I’ll be taking a much closer look.
I’ve had a mad spate of writing in the last week and have added a couple of recently published articles to the catalogue. ‘In faith we march on’ is a comment article on the importance of continued protests and under the new category; ‘About me’ (articles written by other people, not myself!) there is an article based on an interview I gave to a University newspaper about my experience of protesting, appearing on Question Time and writing for the Guardian.
Soon to come:
- Satire article on Yorkshire ‘earthquake’
- Feature on Ford open prison, including an interview with a former inmate.
- Feature on Reclaim the Night at York University.
I’ve just added my most decently published article to the catalogue. It’s called ‘Rights deficit’ and discusses ways in which the government’s proposed cuts may contravene the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was published in University of York magazine ‘The Zahir’, which publishes ‘London Review of Books’ style essay-length articles on a single topic per issue. The topic for that issue was human rights. The rest of the issue is well-worth reading, enjoy!