I just got an email from a friend working in Iraq. He’s stuck in Mosul waiting for a helicopter to Kirkuk. Must have been months since I last heard from him.
I sent an email to him last night half expecting him to be locked in some farmhouse on the outskirts of Baghdad, handcuffed to a bed. It’s happened before. I don’t expect him to be quite so lucky next time.
Anyway, he’s not kidnapped, just delayed.
He’s an old time ‘proper’ Journalist. He’s mastered shorthand, always keeps his notebooks and is one of the finest writers I know.
He knows Arabic.
He files stories and photos for a Middle Eastern newspaper. He get’s the job done. Well.
He told me he looked at my ‘stuff’ online and is not sure if he has been left behind. “It seems pretty interesting and weird and, well, very modern (there are things I’ve never heard of..)
We came from the same daily newspaper in Northamptonshire and spent our last paid holiday on assignment in Egypt and Sudan before quitting work together.
We then took different paths. I don’t think he realises how those few times working together influenced me. Thanks to him I know there is a right way of doing things. I may not always choose that way myself but I know it’s there.
In amongst my manic postings on multimedia platforms, occasionally there is something a little more polished, a little more in depth. Often I rely on the viewer or reader to bring their opinion, thoughts, conversation to the mix. Mostly I spew content into the streams without tagging, captions or any kind of context. Maybe I see documenting as more of an art form than providing information or an official record.
I have all the tools I need and more. Perhaps if I thinned out my social media toolkit I would solidify my content. Less of a scatter gun, more of a missile.
Still, I am glad I took this path and am sure it will be an amalgamation of social technology and the ‘old ways’ that shape the future of Journalism.
If my friend knew that what I did was easy, he’d be unstoppable. Any journalist with an iota of imagination can pick up these tools and apply them to the way they work. The benefits are massive. As long as we don’t loose sight of our truths and see those truths as something to be shared on mass whatever the repercussions.
Maybe I will show him. A decent journalist works for the good of us all. A great one needs protecting and allows us a datum. It reminds us that some bloggers are journalists. And some are not.
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