I noted a while ago on Facebook that I’ve been neglecting my blog. Even the tweets have been a little erratic of late. There’s a simple reason. Summer is the season in which freelance journalists are most in demand to cover for staff (or increasingly other freelances) taking holiday.
So this blazing hot summer, I’ve been a reporter for a recruitment news website, recruiter.co.uk, for which I covered a ‘talent management’ conference to hear a BBC human resources executive explain why long serving staff will be shunted aside to bring on new recruits. I’ll come back to that another time, but it was a not untypical example of workplace ageism from people who really ought to know better.
I’ve also finally made a foray into fashion after 30-odd years in the game, spending three days subbing The Fashion at the Guardian, long enough to know I won’t be on trend this autumn.
And I even tried a day at the Methodist Recorder. Nice people, but I’m from the Stephen Dawkins side of the argument, so it felt a bit hypocritical. Then again. earlier this summer I had a cordial chat in Chancery Lane about working on the UK website of Voice of Russia, which now seems to have been merged with RIA Novosti news agency and rebranded Russia Today (but please don’t confuse with RT on your TV). Not the best time to take the Putin rouble, though there is undoubtedly a need for a balancing voice to far right Ukrainian propaganda.
This is, I think, the first summer in which there has hardly been a silly season to speak of in the media. Wherever you look, the news has been too damn serious for much of the time whether in eastern Europe or the Middle East, in particular. Perhaps the Pope has a point about a creeping third word war.
Closer to home we have the referendum in Scotland. I’ve read Iain Macwhirter’s column in the Herald today, and suspect that were I a Scot I’d be a Yes voter who really wanted devo-max. But that just seems to have been beyond Westminster’s imagination. As, let’s face it, had been the need to rebuild the North’s infrastructure to rebalance the economy away from London until, ooh, the last week or so. Funny how elections concentrate the mind.
This has all been on top of work at the Observer on news and the New Review, the Guardian including the obituaries department, and Public Finance magazine which, coincidentally, also runs a column by Iain Macwhirter and deserves a wider readership among anyone interested in the business of goverment. End of plug and nearly the end of the holiday season.
I intend that normal service will be resumed with more frequent posts. But first, I’ll be tasting the fresh air and fine food of Cumbria. Then I’ve two magazines to produce…