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.
To subscribe to Untold, click here. To buy Untold, the book, click here. To find out more about byline, click here. And to find out more about the Byline Festival, click here.