The Grey Cardigan 28.10.05

THERE IS a strange atmosphere in the newsroom. The Boy Wonder, our recently-appointed editor, is to address the troops.

Given
that the team of management consultants has just departed after their
in-depth examination of our business (“So, just how long does a story
take to write?”), the signs are not good.

The Boy Wonder climbs
onto a desk and hops from foot to foot like an incontinent labrador.
Words like “synergy” and “rationalisation”

spatter his
stream-of-consciousness psycho babble. Eventually it becomes clear.
Thirty of us are going. And before Christmas, too.

Out of the
corner of my eye I catch sight of Mungo, a peripatetic Glaswegian
alcoholic who took up subbing as part of his early release programme,
sliding open the bottom drawer of his desk where, for some reason, he
keeps a house brick. This could get messy.

WE RETURN, with heavy
heart, to theguardian diary where Ms Laura Barton devotes an entire
column to sneering at the minutia of the provincial press.

Oh,
how we laugh as Mr and Mrs Heyes of Bolton complain about a
foul-smelling manhole in their street. Oh, how we laugh as a school bus
fails to turn up two days running in Coventry. Oh, how we laugh as
Barnsley police launch a crackdown on vandalism.

What clearly
hasn’t occurred to Ms Barton with her Notting Hill attitude, her London
salary and her Jimmy fucking Choos is that these stories actually
matter to readers in those communities. And they also matter to the
journalists who write them, including the little people on the Guardian
Media Group’s 25 regional titles whose honest endeavours help fund Ms
Barton’s metropolitan lifestyle as well as provide her with obvious
amusement.

NOW WE’VE all made mistakes with page one stories, especially when the fine line between rumour and fact becomes blurred.

Which brings us to The Voice, the self-proclaimed “Britain’s Best Black Newspaper”.

This
week’s headline of “Gang Of 19 Rape Teen” was ill-advised, particularly
as the story appears to be utter bollocks. But never mind, only one
person has died so far in the subsequent rioting. Might that newspaper
now modify the holier-than-thou attitude it all too often displays
towards the rest of us?

NOW I’M sure Rob Bonnet is a very nice
man, but is he truly a legend of broadcasting? I ask because BBC
Breakfast last week came up with a five-minute valedictory slot of
not-very-funny clips to mark his departure from the programme after 10
years in the job. Lord Reith? No question.

Alistair Cooke? Fair enough. John Peel (right)? Well, if you must. But Rob Bonnet?

A sports reporter of adequate ability? Surely a tribute too far.

THE
Daily Mail’s woeful “Have You Heard?” slot continues its run of
stunning form with the revelation that an anonymous Premiership star
sang an Abba (right) song at a karaoke night in his village local.
Breathtaking stuff.

Now if we knew who it was, it might be
interesting. If we could even guess who it was, it might be
interesting. As it is we haven’t a clue, rendering the whole exercise
pointless.

I’M SURE we’re all delighted to see Rory Carroll back
safe from Baghdad, but you can’t kid a kidder, mate. You get pissed,
miss your deadline and then have to fake your own kidnapping to get off
the hook. We’ve all done it. I know I have.

What’s happening in your newsroom?

Contact me at thegreycardigan@gmail.com

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