NOTE: this post makes brief reference to gory topics. This experience also relates back to late October.
It all started off with a podcast, mentioned by my law lecturer. I think it was during a lecture about Privacy-or was it Defamation?-that this was introduced. Being curious, I had to find out more when I got home.
Untold is the story of Daniel Morgan, who was killed in the eighties; since then, his case has become the most investigated murder in British history. It has also been allegedly marred in police corruption-as well as alleged interference by journalists from News Of The World.
The family have since undergone a lot-including five enquiries!
The podcast is produced by Deeivya Meer and Peter Jukes; the latter also partially narrates the podcast, in being the slightly more analytical perspective, allowing key members of the cast to tell the story.
I finished the first season in a day. Then the second over two days. And then I just had to write in to the website, saying how disgusted I was with the alleged behaviour as a trainee journalist.
From this email, I got a reply-which developed into a brief correspondence, inviting me to an event held at the NUJ. (National Union Of Journalists.) (Notice, not by, but held at.)
Peter is the CEO of Byline-a news website that is, well, a pioneer in a new business model; you crowd fund the journalist to write the story. (That’s the simplest way I can explain it-you can read more on the website.)
The event was called Whitelash, dealing with Racism in post-Brexit Britain. (Because we can all agree, can’t we, that there was a spike in hate crime after the referendum?)
As a journalist:
I was barely a month into my training when I attended this event. And I still have a lot to learn.
First, we were at a nearby bar (I cannot quite remember the name of it, however I think it belongs to the NUJ-as the buildings are linked via a passage) waiting for everyone to arrive.
Recognising Peter from his Twitter photo (I looked up before I went, in order to check the event was legitimate), I went to introduce myself-out of politeness, as he’d invited me, and also to potentially network.
This turned into (sorry if I get the quote wrong-not my intention) being introduced to two of the panelists that night, with “This is Lydia, she’s a journalist writing a piece about tonight, can she tag to you?”
(Rookie error number one: not having questions prepared in your notebook. Having questions written out helps if you are not good with conversations-like me.)
For humble trainee like myself, this was such a wonderful night, as well as experience-finally feeling like you’re legitimate in the ‘trade craft’ you’ve been training in is a wonderful feeling. Besides, it got me talking to two panellists-when the whole panel was made up of women. (Something rare, not seen much these days!)
The event left me shaken in terms of what I think. And in a good way-because we have to question everything.
In context of the Referendum: I was disgusted when various people I was aware of voted to “get the immigrants out”. That is WRONG on every level! (And the referendum was about leaving an organisation that we have been a member of. So it was sort of irrelevant in that respect.)
And I also think that the tactics used in the Referendum campaign-on both sides-were beyond irresponsible. (Who remembers the red bus?!)
This event also taught me that a key quality to be a journalist is to be balanced, and not let personal bias get in the way. Your job is to report the facts. Not your opinion.