They’re like taxi drivers: once you get them started they’ll never stop.
Any topic, doesn’t matter. From macro-economic policy to which researcher is shagging their researcher.
Ask them to speculate and you can settle back and get on with the rest of your day while they fill air time.
There isn’t a news editor alive who has not punched the air when the political editor has come on the phone five minutes before evening conference with a splash. Even if it isn’t a splash, your average news desk factotum can take it into conference and argue that it is.
U-turns, cabinet splits, liberal use of unnamed sources, all of these are deployed to grab the desk’s attention. And it will invariably work.
Considered the elite of the newsroom, more than any other reporter, apart from the cubs condemned to voxpops, they are physically Out Of The Office. This is, in itself, an achievement in an age of recycled press releases.
And not only are they out of the office – they are reporting on Important Things.
Over time, this, and their proximity to people who actually ARE important decision makers, can unfortunately actually lead to delusions of grandeur.
It’s a fairly ugly sight to see a news editor explaining why his splash has been traduced to a nib because a bus full of kids has skidded off the motorway.
But seasoned pol corrs have seen this all before and should always be heeded and indulged by the neophyte.
When Election NIght kicks in, you will need these sages: from councils to general and presidential elections, the Political Editor worth their salt is likely the only person in your newsroom who will call it correctly – irregardless of what the broadcast commentators attempting to fill dead air are filching out of their rent-a-pundits.
And if you need. And we mean REALLY NEED 1,600 words of analysis, comment and a 900 word splash, two profiles and a factbox on Sunday after a cabinet resignation at 6pm, you really have one person who can deliver.
And like a taxi driver, you’ll pay through the nose for it.
Categories: Survive Your Newsroom