The golden rules of reporting explained

The golden rule of journalism (wellies in the boot)
The golden rule of journalism (wellies in the boot)

It’s a long time now since I was a rookie reporter, sent out to cover every breaking news story, sit through long local government meetings and court cases and talk to the great and the good of Lancashire on every subject under the sun.

Interviews ranged from memorably feisty pensioners and heroic dinner ladies to frequently monosyllabic and occasionally angry politicians and slightly rude celebrities whose names I have instantly forgotten.

The great thing about the job is the variety and although it was often difficult work and long hours and involves constantly evolving technology, I would not change a thing.

How many people can say they have waded through floods, interviewed murderers and crime victims, reported and visited Parliament and 10 Downing Street, not to mention flying in a microlight with the army in Cyprus and staying in a Soviet tank barracks in Latvia with UN forces?

Memorably (and this one impresses my nieces the most) I was allowed to sit in the cab of a fire engine at the scene of a blaze when local yobs starting lobbing glass bottles at both the emergency services and the press.

Safe to say it’s varied and ensures a reporters’ reunion is always a fascinating night of anecdotal oneupmanship at the pub.

Stories rarely include the hours of heads-down typing stories, endlessly chasing comments, arguing with press offices and editing and checking facts and legalities.

These days I’m more likely to find myself at a meeting than the scene of a murder (I was a crime reporter) so I live vicariously through the editing of reporters who exist on the adrenaline of getting to the bottom of a what’s going on - the pressures of which remain the same if not the channels and ways in which the story is shared.

As a result finding the story often involves legwork, usually - as one reporter found this week - at a crime scene in pouring and freezing rain when unsuitably dressed for the occasion.

Safe to say most reporters quickly learn the golden rule of always keeping a towel, a pair of wellies, a change of clothes and a big warm waterproof in the car boot - and that pretty summer dresses with bare legs are not advisable in February unless you want to go blue.

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