Another hack bits the dust

Posted on June 24, 2009

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In the week that the citizens of Iran used digital media to empower their demands for change and circumvent constrictions on the flow of information, Britain’s largest commercial news broadcaster decides it doesn’t need a website. Go figure!

I’ve just found out I’m facing redundancy. But wait, don’t bring out the violins. My situation is one that thousands of journalists are facing. At least I don’t have kids or a mortgage to fund. To be honest I’m ecstatic about the adventure that lies ahead of me.

As nonsensical as the decision to end the contract for the website may seem, it’s no more messed up than the concept of running an unmanaged site with no defined purpose or editor. There were no referrals to the stats, minimal original content and it existed mainly as a dumping-ground for video content from the thrice-daily bulletins. Oh, and did I mention that all of the video content was geo-blocked?

I’ve met some lovely people along the way but I have never had such a pointless job in my life. (I’ve stuffed envelopes, worked as a scanner in a legal department and been a sandwich maker for postmen, so trust me, I know what I’m talking about).

How would I describe my experience? It’s been akin to being on the border between purgatory and hell. It was never so horrible that you could get angry but the tedium and frustration pushed me close to insanity (maybe even beyond, my doctor might say).

Why did I stay? Fear, I guess; the idea that this was where it was supposed to be at. This was the renowned news bulletin where so many had made their name. Despite my lowly position I was part of the inner sanctum of editorial meetings at which the gods of media decided what information the masses would consume. At times it was intoxicating, getting wrapped-up in breaking news, knowing the inside story months before it ever hit the headlines…

Yet deep down I knew it was never going to be for me. The ideology behind the programmes wasn’t one I would ever ascribe to and to pretend to do so simply for a monthly pay check and to give the impression that I’d ‘made it’ would have made me a fraud.

So I stuck it out; going the full gamut from anxiety to apathy to a conviction that something better had to be out there. The truth might well be that it’ll be down to me to create that something. But I’m fine with that. I’ve bloody earned it – both through lasting this long here and from the decade plus of experience in journalism that I’ve accumulated.

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Posted in: media