The Truth about news rooms

Terry Pratchett’s novel ‘The Truth‘ has a great line about how journalists will always view the main purpose of the office floor as serving as a big, flat, filing cabinet.

It’s true. Back in August I began reorganising my filing system at the home office : at the time the system was two cabinets, with vaguely appropriate titles assgined to the drawers, a small ‘to file’ tray piled high and toppling over with papers and reports, and various ‘pending’ stacks of paper around the office.

The new system will work, I am sure, when it is finished. At the moment it is about three quarters completed but there are piles of work to be included still around the office.

The Soulmate earlier today wandered in and said the office needs airing: shouldn’t I open a window?

I looked out at the Wellington Harbour and noted the rising north westerly, looked around the paper-strewn floor and various other surfaces…(there’s a couple of CDs holding down some OIA requests to be mailed out, for example, on top of the radio) and said ‘not a good idea, right now’.

I will finish the filing system probably in the week before Christmas. In the meantime there is a glass of Lagavulin standing on the desk. This serves as periodic refreshment as well as something which will make this office smell like an old fashioned newsroom (although Lagavulin is far too good a brew for an old-fashioned newsroom: Grants would be more appropriate but I’ve got this thing against drinking liquid sandpaper).

Pratchett had one other great line about journalists: he reckoned having started his career as one it got rid of any silly ideas about writers block, because if you claimed to have it, unsympathetic people would shout at you until you wrote something.

This is so much like my early experiences in provincial newspapers I just want to… look, a toast to old fashioned news rooms, everywhere.


One thought on “The Truth about news rooms

  1. You are lucky that child is not old enough to open the window. Those papers would be in the Harbour by now.It’s not just Journos. Several partners at PwC had an obsession with office tidiness. Or should I say lack of it. I was always impressed that in 50 piles scattered on the floor they without fail and within seconds could find any one page.


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