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Bad Merlot and brown envelopes

Home Tomorrow's Business Bad Merlot and brown envelopes

The sometime lothario flak turned legend-in-his-own-lunchtime, pulled hard on the glass of Merlot.

He looks at me with anger. “Did you order this?” Yes. “Tastes like it.”

To call him old school would be an offence to the old. And to schools. He wanted to tell me what is wrong with modern hacks.

Short answer: everything.

Longer answer: they don’t leave their desks. They don’t engage properly. They don’t know how to handle sensitive situations. He can count on one hand the number of hacks he’d trust to hand over the old brown envelope, for a top scoop. We’re lazy too.

He’s wrong about that last bit. Hacks are over-worked I’d say, but otherwise he has a point.

Meeting and knowing people is the only way to get ahead. “We all go up together,” was the Merlot man’s take on it.

Instead, we have electronic conversations that in no way do the same job.

Here’s Dom Walsh in The Times City diary today:

Spam, spam, lovely spam

Times have changed in my nearly three decades as a business journalist. When I started in 1989, press releases were being couriered over or sent by fax and were worth heeding.

Scroll forward to today’s email-based business world and my inbox is constantly being replenished with screeds of untargeted, stupid and otherwise useless press releases. In the last couple of minutes alone, I’ve been sent emails entitled How to create an Instagrammable cheeseboard and Are you one of the UK’s happiest workers?. O tempora ..

It’s usually a mistake to disagree with Mr Walsh, since he knows his onions. On this occasion, it is impossible.


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