Author Archives


Ears open for the very best black humour from your newsroom

The tanks  are not just on the lawn anymore

ONCE upon a time newspapers seemed unassailable: they survived the arrival of popular radio, commercial television and the proliferation of satellite TV. And despite all the odds they kept pulling in those lucrative advertising dollars year after year. They relentlessly saw off the competition and kept on partying, […]


In praise of bullying: Yes, you heard right

There’s no I in team, apparently. Every once in a while, we like to swing by our marketing department at the paper to see how most normal co-workers go about their day. They’re smiling, chatting, talking about their kids, asking where outfits were bought and for how much, […]


News is not Porn, nor is it File Sharing 

Can it really be true? Are advertisers really prepared to out their glossy ads next to natural disasters, murders and fatal crashes? In other words, news. With ad blockers the default topic among the ad brigade right now, it looks like they’ll be taking anything they can get […]


Dirty diesel: It’s all smoke and mirrors

The Shed’s old hacks wing is envying the boys and girls of the media at the moment. The VW story is a month of lucky Sundays for a newsroom. Everybody in charge of everything has been cocking it up for years – and every follow-up inquiry suggests that […]


And the weather outlook? Sunny with a chance of FAKE

Every newspaper has corners which fill up by some mysterious process which almost everyone has forgotten the details of – grain and fatstock prices; pool league rankings; surf reports; church service programmes; proceedings of the Royal and Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes; etcetera. Sooner or later, somebody crucial goes […]


How not to save your firm’s reputation

Like many a miserably paid hack I’ve occasionally been tempted by the lure of better rewards in the public relations sector; to leave the ranks of the poachers and become a gamekeeper. I’ve never taken the plunge but plenty of colleagues have – and generally they’ve done pretty […]


Journalese: Splash, Turn, Spread, Wing, Nib

Readers don’t care about bylines. But you do. And why not? If you’ve toiled away on a doorstep and mashed out 1,800 words splash copy plus the turn to the spread, you’re going to want something to show for it. And nothing gives you the warm inner glow […]


My son’s dead body was warm, not cold

Pulp fiction writers have got it wrong. The dead are warm. They’re not stiffs, ice cold to the touch. My baby boy was floppy, he looked asleep. Three days earlier he’d been alive, and for three days my wife carried his corpse inside her. The cradle of life […]


Survive Your Newsroom: Foreign Editor

Much like Liam Neeson, Foreign Editors have a particular set of skills. They WILL find you, they WILL make you file. From the Aussie Outback to the Patagonian fastness to the fleshpots of Bangkok, if you speak English, have mentioned that fact to a journalist and can write […]