The Lazy Journalists Plane Story Generator is quite funny. We’re invited to fill in gaps such as “choose over (the) top emotion” to quickly ramp up our piece about a minor plane incident.
The website speaks to the popular view that hacks are indolent. Readers sometimes take affront when I admit I’m not going to spend the next four weeks of my life chasing down some matter which is of huge importance to them, but of little actual news value.
That must be because I’m lazy.
I do think hacks take more short-cuts than we used to. I think it is possible we make more mistakes than we did (though I’d like to see a proper study into this).
The real reason for this is that we have to work much harder, much more quickly. We are supposed to have a strong grasp of a far wider range of subjects than is truly possible.
This is because: 1) some idiot went and invented the internet. 2) which means fewer people are willing to pay for news.
Truthfully, newsrooms are not places for the naturally idle. I don’t think that word would fairly describe any colleagues anywhere I’ve worked (chaotic, sarcastic pains-in-the-arse, possibly).
If you’re a young flak cross that hacks don’t seem to be making an effort, try and have a heart.
They are probably moving much more quickly than is obvious. If you help ease their burden, they might remember you for it.