The Blog

Is Journalism Really All That It Seems?

Cycling to do an interview the other day though, I realised journalism is nowhere near as glamorous as I'd imagined (Carrie Bradshaw is mostly to blame), fully confirmed when my skirt got blown up around my waist. Nightmare. But The Hour has arrived just when the image of journalism, its entire reputation, is staggering, limply trying to pull itself back together again.

The Hour on BBC2 is very misleading.

Upsettingly so. Watching Romola Garai wear pencil skirts and chat-back at her superiors looking both incredibly chic and as if it is the 'done' thing, is the stuff of journalism dreams.

Ben Whishaw's skinny, earnest frame, Dominic West's slicked-back charm and Anna Chancellor in high-waisted trousers lounging about on desk-tops with a cigarette in one hand and a stiff drink in the other - you don't get that in regional news, unless you've just been fired. They are just too smooth.

The show, part newsroom drama, part murder mystery, taps into the typewriter-fuelled images of hacks (complete with trilby and think rimmed glasses) that are completely to blame for getting sensible girls (like me) to believe they could wear heels to work without stumbling and write things that might actually change the world - a little bit at least - by becoming a journalist.

Cycling to do an interview the other day though, I realised journalism is nowhere near as glamorous as I'd imagined (Carrie Bradshaw is mostly to blame), fully confirmed when my skirt got blown up around my waist. Nightmare.

But The Hour has arrived just when the image of journalism, its entire reputation, is staggering, limply trying to pull itself back together again.

First Johann Hari broke my heart by being caught out telling stories he hadn't heard first hand, then the News of the World hacking scandal threw newsrooms up and down the country into days of stomach-in-mouth disappointment (and quite a lot of fear). Getting hot and bothered over Hugh Grant being all heroic and wordy was the only thing that kept me going. Even how the story was covered got guilty column inches. Inescapable, glammed up and mucked up, the face of journalism has bizarrely become front page news itself.

Then, last week's riots showed how amazing journalism can be and can look. Twitter, 24 hour news and citizen journalism (particularly that photo of Clapham being revived by a mass of multicoloured brooms) kept everyone connected, helped make sense of the madness and really did make a difference.

Ben Whishaw's character would have looked rather rigid in the midst of all of that. Being instinctive, open to change and surgically attached to a smart phone are more the look to go for right now. And being human too; there's none of that hiding behind a faceless byline and hard-nose anymore.

Journalists share their entire lives now, on Twitter, through blogs, some even share what they wear to work (see ELLE.COM's brilliant 'What ELLE wore' ongoing feature) and how they got their jobs in the first place (see this month's Company Magazine for a whole spread on getting into creative industries), their photos becoming part of their company's brand and identity.

I guess it all comes down to trust. We're generally all suckers for trusting a friendly face and likeable image, the media just needs to make sure that despite the press-bashing of late, their appearance really is what it seems.

And maybe a few more pencil skirts wouldn't hurt, it'd at least make sure I couldn't accidentally flash any more strangers, which would only be a good thing.