On Slugger O’Toole, Mick Fealty references a piece by Nuala McKeever in the Belfast Telegraph. I think it is now nine weeks since I actually bought a newspaper. Not buying one is as habit forming as buying one. The real challenge to my Leveson inspired boycott will be when I am on a bus or train journey. Nothing would ever induce me to buy the Belfast Telegraph anyway.
But here’s a thing. Wikipedia have fairly extensive articles on the backgrounds of a lot of journos..I literally hundreds at the BBC. Take a look at John Simpson, Jeremy Bowen, Huw Edwards….literally hundreds. Typiically grammar school or minor public school boys and girls and not untypically Oxford and Cambridge. Not untypically History.
While I deplore elitism…the BBC apologists would say this is the right balance of classical education and superior gravitas which maketh the BBC man…or woman. I am not sure if the Belfast Metro College still runs its (pretty expensive) journalism class….but a year learning libel laws and of month long work experience with a provincial newspaper plus a trip to Stormont Thor a Q &A session with Mark Devenport is play be not as influential.
As you may have gathered I know rather more about the Metro Class than is strictly necessary.
Thirty years ago, I used to enjoy buying the Guardian and Irish Times. I think Ian Aiken, Hugo Young and Conor O’Clery confirmed my view of the world….in a way that George Monbiot, Timothy Garton Ash and Miriam Lord can no longer do. Besides my world view is settled.
I don’t know how Journalism on broadsheets works anymore. Do they go from Oxford straight to the Guardian or do they have year spend ten years covering village fetes in Somerset and court cases in Rotherham. And why are they all so young? Like that young fella Jones who is always on Question Time.
I totally understand reporters like Mark Simpson reporting as BBC Ireland Correspondent and Fiona Trott, BBC North of England Correspondent. In the food chain, they are Reporters who report on the latest Belfast riot or the latest missing child in Lancashire. And I gender stand that Middle East BBC man Jeremy Bowen and Channel 4s Michael Crick are journalists. They analyse and comment in a way that reporters don’t.
Reporters…Journalists and that brings me to Mickey’ s Mammy…..Nuala McKeever.Who exactly is she and why does she have a column in the Belfast Telegraph? I declare a slight interest. She used to live quite near a friend in West Belfast. She went to QUB…studied French and got a job as a BBC researcher and drifted into the Hole in the Wall Gang. She became famous for two characters…a West Belfast housewife with an errant son “Mickey” and the Cultra letsgetalongerist, Mrs AllTooNice.
Leaving the Hole In The Wall Gang….she had a chat show on UTV but frankly she disappeared off the radar. I don’t wish to be unkind but her career seemed to have petered out. About three years ago, I saw her present a Platform for Change event.She is signatory to PFC and is now real-life LetsGetAlongerist.
Of course many rank and file citizens sign up to Platform for Change. They are not all pretentious networkersin the Metro-Textual world off South East Belfast.Nuala McKeever is an interesting and intelligent woman but are her thoughts more relevant than yours or mine. What entitles her to a Belfast Telegraph platform.Is she a professional journalist. Well of course…I am also one…did I tell you that I earned £17 after currency conversion….so obviously I am not jealous…much.
But why exactly does Ms McKeever have a Belfast Telegraph column? Does she have more insight, expertise or gravitas than say the top ten per cent of Norn Iron bloggers? Which I think defines the non existent difference between Blogging and Journalism A Blogger is at heart a frustrated Journalist who can’t catch a break.And A Journalist is a Blogger who got lucky.