23 October, 2015. 15:34
ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
A FORMER AWARD WINNING journalist has spoken of a time, before he took a job writing mindless sponsored content for News.com.au, when he was free to pitch stories to his bosses. They’d often be shot down, either for not adhering to the company line or for just being too expensive to do. But, he says, it was a great time to be alive.
“I worked the crime beat in Sydney for years,” he said. “When I was a young fella, that is. I was basically the main reporters auxiliary – just following her around and help with photos and interviews, taking notes – you know the deal.”
But the public’s taste in news has waned from your run-of-the-mill hard news, typically written by the young staff writers at a major daily, to the in-depth analysis provided by the more stately reporters in the ranks. What its waned to is truely horrifying.
“This morning, I pitched my editor a story idea. I want to head out on the road for a while and get a good handle of this developing murder case, the one you’ve probably heard about in the news recently,” he said. “While they admired my dedication to the craft, my editor told me that people don’t want to read about that kind of stuff anymore.”
He was then told to walk downstairs to the media room on the second floor, put on a set of cheap headphones and take notes on the season finale of The Bachelorette. It’s something he never envisaged doing all those years ago as a young cadet walking the mean streets of Cabramatta.
“As much as I HATE writing this bullshit, it pays the bills,” he said. “But look, I’ve got responsibilities to look after now. My wife is pregnant with our first kid, interest rates have just gone up and my car needs new tires to pass rego – if that means I have to be a pretend journalist, then so be it.”