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FleetStreetBlues: Roger Boyes on reputation management after unfortunate byline

It certainly caused a snigger or two in the Journalism.co.uk office when, more than a year ago, we came across the unfortunate byline placement on this story in the Times, which happened to be about the Vienna Boys’ Choir sex abuse scandal – a story written by Roger Boyes, Berlin correspondent for the newspaper.

Since then, as reported by FleetStreetBlues, Boyes has had to bring in reputation management to clean up the damage caused to his online profile. In an article for the Times today, as FSB reports, Boyes writes about about how he had to perform “a kind of digital exorcism”, whether he liked it or not.

Here’s the hitch though: I never wanted to join Facebook. Now I am signed on (and have no access to it), accumulating friends who presumably have been put up to it by the reputation managers. It’s not me, it doesn’t feel like me. And the YouTube video, though duly positive, just looks daft. So it seems that the only way I can fight the lasting effects of my Twitter ambush is by exposing myself more online.

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The disappearance of the Daily Mail Insider blog

On Monday, the Independent’s Ian Burrell mentioned a “cheeky” Daily Mail Insider Blog in his media column. It wasn’t linked, but not difficult to find.

By Wednesday, it had been noted by the FleetStreetBlues blog and three hours later it was no more. Handily enough, Brian Whelan has captured the content of what, as he says, “are apparently the missing blog posts allegedly written by a Daily Mail journo”.


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A new blog: ‘Angry people in local newspapers’

November 2nd, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers, Photography

Brought to our attention by FleetStreetBlues, this site’s title needs little explanation.

Its author (Scaryduck aka Alistair Coleman / @duckorange) introduces ‘Angry people in local newspapers’ thus:

“I feel sorry for local news photographers. They are hugely skilled and poorly paid, and sent out to photograph miserable people pointing at dog turds. Here, we celebrate their work.”

Journalism.co.uk recommends its first post ‘Dog Poop’ on October 22, to give a flavour of the whole blog.

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Anonymous local hack: They have ‘fundamentally destroyed the layout of my papers’

June 29th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

Three warnings attached to this Ed Pick: 1. We don’t who he is, who he works for, or if it’s really true. 2. It contains very strong language. 3. This blogger might not be in a newspaper job for long if he gets the NightJack treatment.

Nonetheless, his comments warrant a link, we feel. ‘Blunt,’ who appears to hold a senior editorial news position at a nameless UK local paper, comments on the cruel effects of reduced pagination.

“In their infinite wisdom, my so-called bosses decided to reduce pagination over summer in order to cut costs. So far so sensible. It is a season where newspapers are always likely to make a loss. I expected to lose a few editorial pages as part of this drop in size and was actually looking forward to taking the foot off the gas a little and having a bit of fun.

“The plans for my new editions landed on my desk this morning and to be honest I felt like walking out there and then. Instead of a few back of the book pages being dropped, the fucktards in charge have fundamentally destroyed the layout of my papers.

“Full page ads are normally forbidden from the front of the book in order to give our dear readers the impression what we bring out is actually a newspaper. Now they litter my early pages. Back of the book far from being pared down is obliterated.”

FleetStreetBlues (another anonymous cynic) recommended ‘Blunt’ recently, as an example of raw but real newsroom blogging:

“Sure, he needs a sub. But it’s extremely readable and completely true. Nothing complicated – simply life on the front line of journalism, as told by someone who’s been around the block. It’s well worth reading.”

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Trials of a redundant journalist: Days one, two and three

May 28th, 2009 | 4 Comments | Posted by in Freelance, Job losses, Jobs, Journalism

A new blog series which will run until our new guest blogger, who writes on the FleetStreetBlues site, and types really really fast, finds a job or gets too busy to blog. A weeks ago, this update came from FleetStreetBlues:

“A regular FleetStreetBlues contributor, without any warning, just got her marching orders this afternoon. ‘Global downturn… blah blah… smaller issues… blah blah… no advertising… blah blah… nothing we could do.’

“We’ve been writing about it for long enough – redundancies, cut-backs, journalists forced out of the profession they love – so it shouldn’t really come as a shock, but it does.

“And while we know all the things to do – networking, proactive job hunting, polishing your CV – being made redundant brings a whole new set of questions you never even considered. Like when updating the employment section of your CV… What’s a nice way of saying you just got fired?”

The FSB Redundant Journalist will cross-post her updates here. Journalism.co.uk welcomes her to this temporary blogging spot, and wishes her the best of luck in the job hunt. Here’s day one, two and three: more to come.

Follow the Trials of a Redundant Journalist series, by the Redundant Journalist, here.

DAY ONE: I’ve been unemployed for ten days.

It’s Bank Holiday Monday and thankfully, the sun is not shining. This is because I don’t have the luxury of being employed and enjoying such benefits as bank holidays.Technically every day of unemployment is a holiday, but the major downside is that my other half is breathing down my neck to get a new job so I have no choice but to get on with applying. My dreams of being a lady who lunches are yet to be fulfilled. During this recession at least.

Like everyone else, we’ve got our bills to pay, which means that in an industry where a suitable, good new job comes by once in a blue moon, I have had to cast my net further afield.

At first, the thought of going to the dark side, of PR, appalled me. My stomach churned at the thought of proactive PR in particular. But after nearly two weeks of job hunting, I must confess – those jobs are starting to look rather appealing. And it’s not just the pay.

It took me a couple of days to figure out what else I was qualified for, having wanted to be a journalist for most of my life and having work experience in little else, and to find out where to look for alternative jobs, having lived on Gorkana and Journalism.co.uk [Good call. Ed.] for the past three years. But it seems that if nothing else, I’d make a great office assistant.

Don’t mock too much – admin assistants get paid even better than journalists in a lot of cases, and if you’re looking for a stop-gap job to bring home the bacon while you keep an eye out for that lucrative journalism job, why not do something that requires little brain effort, therefore allowing you to save your energy for those applications for jobs you actually would want?

DAY TWO: So last week, I wowed the world with my WPM.’Are you sure that’s your typing speed?’

‘Er, I think so…I did those online typing speed tests.’

‘But are you sure? Most people are 70 words per minute, but 90 words per minute would be super-duper fast (yes, her exact phrase) – legal secretary fast.’

‘Er…’

‘Come in and we’ll register you and while we’re at it, we’ll test your typing speed.’

So that’s how I ended up at general recruitment agency number one. And ok, I didn’t wow ‘the world’, but I managed to surprise myself and the agency by proving that I have a touch-typing wpm of 95.

DAY THREE: There’s an emotional curve to redundancy. After I got over the initial shock of being made redundant, the next emotion was anger at the unfairness of the situation, quite closely followed by depression.

I was just a few days into the depression stage, however, when a little spark of hope landed my way – in the form of a freelance commission. On a subject I knew nothing about, but journalism work nonetheless.

Although I’d been unemployed for about just a week by this stage, it’s hard to describe quite how happy I was to be calling people up to interview them for the article.

Mundane as this may seem once you’ve got a journalism job, it also seemed the most natural thing for me to do (after all, it’s what I’ve been doing on a daily basis for the past two years) and it made one thing really clear to me – I’ll never be able to give up journalism for ever. Or at least it will be hard to give up without a fight.

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FleetStreetBlues: A letter in defence of council-run newspapers

FleetStreetBlues has reproduced this letter in defence of council-run newspapers from the latest issue of the NUJ Journalist magazine: not yet online.

“Helen Watson, Claire Rudd and 14 other NUJ members who write for Tower Hamlets Council’s weekly newspaper East End Life, write:

“We ‘jumped ship’ because the papers we worked on did not pay ‘grown-up’ wages – try paying a mortgage and bringing up kids on less than £20,000 a year for a 45-hour week, especially in London. It might be feasible if you’ve just left uni or have benefactors who can help you pay the rent while you struggle through on poverty wages. But those options are not open to most.””

Full post at this link…

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