Why old blokes with beards still have something to teach young reporters

He was an odd-looking bloke, with a shambling gait and a very strange beard.

But what Glyn didn’t know about being a reporter wasn’t worth knowing.

He was probably in his 40s as I started out on a now-defunct weekly paper in 1985.

And his advice, tips and contacts helped me grow in confidence and ability as I began covering my rural slice of mid-Devon.

I thought of Glyn as I read a report out today from the NCTJ about the state of journalism training.

Much of the report, which is also covered by Hold the Front Page today looks at the changing nature of journalism and journalists.

Parts of it stray into Sybil Fawlty’s alleged Mastermind specialist subject.

But it raises interesting questions about how the journalists of the future are going to acquire the skills they need.

One concern it expresses is that what it calls ‘the hollowing-out’ of newsrooms has left them bereft of the elder statesmen and women of the past, the experienced reporters who act as informal advisers and mentors to the next generation.

In my job, I see some newsrooms which lack the father and mother figures that helped me on my way three decades ago.

But in most of the places that I visit, I can still see the influence of reporters who have chosen to keep doing the job they love on their younger colleagues.

Long may that continue.

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2 thoughts on “Why old blokes with beards still have something to teach young reporters

  1. Paul, I have the beard, and am 47… do I now qualify for the badge?

  2. It must be a coincidence that the NCTJ report comes from an organisation which would have much to gain financially from squirting trainees through it’s own courses without them getting close to the aforesaid old school journalists….

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