Between us, Karen and I at Nine Media have nearly 30 years experience working as journalists – and during that time there have been incredible changes in the media landscape. Some good (we’re thinking social media), some bad (we’re thinking wide-ranging job losses and pay freezes), but all mean that our early years in journalism bear very little resemblance to the newbies of today. But hands up if the following sounds familiar to you…
Your contacts book was your bible
Falling apart at the seams, your contacts book went with you everywhere – you didn’t dare leave it on your desk, as it would get nicked. Scribbled with crucial numbers and information from cover to cover, it was your ‘precious’. Now it sits at home in a box, unloved and un-updated for years as you’ve transferred everything to your iCloud contacts.
In your day, there wasn’t such a thing as an ‘intern’
It was called WORK EXPERIENCE. And yes, it was exactly the same thing – tea making, clothes-returning, doing-anything-to-get-a-byline servitude. Except it didn’t have a fancy name.
The daily rate was great!
Ten years ago, you thought being paid between £120-£130 a day to shift at a national title was pretty good going. Ten years later, with the rate exactly the same, this can make the most experienced journo want to give it all up and become an accountant. Or something else well-remunerated.
You remember finding case studies without social media
Finding a line-up of three ‘real people’ to create a trend feature good enough to sate the most demanding Editor has always been one of a journalists’ most demanding jobs. But we remember doing it before Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn made finding people online a piece of cake. The only thing is, we can’t remember how. Seriously, how did we do this?
You remember the actual Red Pages
It’s the essential resource for all celeb journos which allows you find out how to contact famous people’s reps– but we’re not talking about the online site. We mean the actual, physical chunky Yellow-Pages style directory which contained all the celebrity contact info you needed. Each magazine had its one sole copy, which was jealously guarded by the features team, but often ‘borrowed’ by others. The furious email: ‘WHOEVER HAS GOT THE RED PAGES PLEASE RETURN IT NOW’ was sent by many a fury-filled hack.
You could boost your salary with a foreign
There was a time the slightest incident happening to a Brit abroad meant the entire UK press pack would be despatched en masse, no matter how far flung the destination, to report on every cough and spit, while racking up outlandish expense claims. Now with budgets for foreign travel slashed, many reporters spend their entire working lives never leaving their desk.
Your drawers rattle with Dictaphone cassettes.
You can’t get rid of them – these are important for legal and historical reasons! (Aren’t they?) But what on earth to do with the 47 tapes of recordings of interviews you did years ago? Whatever you decide, don’t show it to a 20-something digital native. They will only look confused and ask, ‘What are they?’