Posts Tagged ‘journalism’
Zembla is a Dutch television program which regularly broadcasts in-depth documentaries. Over the years, they have brought to attention various important incidents and topics. Unfortunately, the quality and accuracy of these documentaries varies wildly. The editing is often shoddy and sensationalist.
A good example is their last episode, on the long-term health risks of cell phones. It is one-sided, gets the science wrong and is narrated with an alarmist tone that is impossible to justify.
One of my best kept secrets is that in a previous life, I was involved in the dirty business of journalism. Together with two friends I wrote for and edited the gossip bi/tri-weekly in our primary school class.
Every couple of weeks (we promised it would be every fortnight, but that was too ambitious) for about two years we would gather roughly 5 or 6 paragraphs of gossip, interviews and other interesting tidbits of information, and arrange it neatly on two sheets of A4 paper. After photocopying all of this on the school copier we would then distribute it among our subscribers. A subscription was 25 cents per edition (each page copy was 10 cents, the 5 cents extra per subscriber was used for overhead). The majority of our class was subscribed. Years later we found out that a fair number of parents also read us because their children would bring the paper home.
After a recent evening in the pub together we dug up our archives. It’s amazing to see how much business sense and creativity we had as 11-year-olds. That said, the quality of the writing is appalling, most of the articles are as short as one or two paragraphs and the spelling makes me cry.
The stories we ran were mostly interviews with classmates and teachers, comments on general human behaviour, news related to the school and general gossip about which girls liked which boys and vice verse (unlike most gossip papers we would usually check before publishing something). One of the more daring pieces talks about the legality of one of the games we played in the weekly gym class. Apparently (or so we had heard) it was very dangerous and outlawed, but we didn’t actually bother to check whether that was actually the case.