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How To Start As A Hack / Flak

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How to start as a hack / flak

There a sweet tweet thread here started by Ollie Samuels of the BBC.

He is speaking at his old school and wants some top tips for 16-18 year-olds interested in journalism.

I clicked expecting a load of abuse from tired old hacks along the lines of “tell them to forget it”.

In fact, there is only really one like that. Perhaps because the tired old hacks aren’t on Twitter.

The negative one goes: “Look for another career. It is a declining industry with low pay and often unsocial hours, and sometimes held in contempt by the general public.”

There is no denying the truth in that.

Other than that, there’s lots of helpful ideas and enthusiasm, which I think apply to those looking to get into PR just as much.

My favourite is the simplest: read at least one newspaper a day. Properly.

I reckon you can quickly tell whether a hack or flak reads physical copies of newspapers or not (perhaps that’s a conceit.)

One answer I like: “Don’t think the industry is closed to you if you are from an underprivileged background – the industry needs more journos with lived experiences in order to tell stories properly.”

I wish that this were truer than it is. Newsrooms remain solidly middle class and upwards, but there is at least a recognition within the industry that this is an issue.

I also like the calls not to look down on local news.

But my favourite reply is this, and it definitely applies to both hackery and flakery.

1. Think about how you’d explain a story to your friends and family / at the pub.

2. If you’re feeling unsure about a story or some of the details involved in it, if in doubt, leave it out.

Press release of the day

Research from Publicis shows that 71% of staff would fear telling their employer about a cancer diagnosis.

It is launching a Working with Cancer campaign to tackle the stigma of cancer in the workplace.

The campaign was sparked by Publicis CEO Arther Sadoun, who was treated for cancer last year.

Stories that will keep rolling

1) What is the new Vodafone CEO going to do about the languishing share price?

2) What is the cost to the economy of today’s strikes?

3) Is gold heading for a correction?

4) Where in the eurozone is inflation worst of all?


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