There are rules governing personal blogs, where I work. The Sausage Factory (as my office shall be known) has decreed that its employees can’t blog about work in too much detail without telling their line manager. Now, my managers know I have a blog, thanks to a very embarassing meeting about multi-platform media in which somehow everyone ended up thinking I am into S&M websites and I had to explain that no, no, NO, I simply have a bog standard blog. But my managers do not know my blog address. So I mustn’t blog about work in a way which reveals explicitly where I work, or anything that would compromise confidentiality.
But I spend so much of my time here (sometimes the amount of time I spend here makes me cry), so I can’t help but reflect on the sausage-making part of my life, in a way which does not at all compromise the editorial integrity of our content, of course.
Most people who work in TV are annoyingly normal and don’t fit the image people might have of the industry. This is especially true in news. We’re dour, rather than gushing. Our haircuts are always symmetrical, and never pink. There’s no crazy toilet-based drug taking, and we don’t tear up scripts in disgust and tell each other to f off. We don’t do celebrities. We don’t do wrap parties.
Some people do meet the expectations I had as a fresh-faced trainer researcher; there are still some dyed-in-the-wool TV types, though they’re dying out thanks to endless redundancies in this industry. Take my current boss. He’s a former red-top hack, and he runs this ship like a tabloid newdesk. For those who have seen Life On Mars,imagine Gene Hunt in more contemporary clothes. He says things like “we need to copper bottom this story”; “get in bed with that person and we’ve nailed it”; and “deliver. Just. Deliver”. He hammers at his keyboard and barks orders across the office, and, when something goes wrong, as it very frequently does, he can barely contain his excitement at the drama. Yesterday he broke off from a conversation to say to a coworker sitting next to him: “Your handwriting is great for a left-handed freak”.
His enthusiasm is infectious and very motivating. In fact, my favourite moment of today was when I e-mailed him a rather bland update on where I’d got up to with a story, and he shot back the following reply: “I bloody love it!!”.
*The title of this post is another bit of TV lingo which I can’t bring myself to say!