Why the phrase ‘local rag’ is red rag to a bull for me

The nationals were full of news of one sort of ‘toxic phrase.’
But my anger was boiling over quite another.
It was in similar insulting and condescending style to Andrew Mitchell’s ‘pleb’ outburst.
A journalism educator at the National Council for the Training of Journalists annual conference used the term ‘local rag’ twice within an hour when talking about the regional media.
I went to the conference partly to develop better links with the country’s top journalism courses to ensure that we get the best candidates when we are looking for trainee reporters.
I made some headway with that.
But I was also mentally ticking off institutions I wouldn’t be including in my charm offensive as their representatives opened their mouths to speak.
This bloke’s was one such mouth.
I couldn’t believe such a dismissive, thoughtless insult could emerge from someone interested in nurturing the journalists of the future.
There are clearly worse troubles at sea, but that phrase – along with ‘slow news day?’ (there’s usually a question mark) – has always pushed the anger button for me.
It’s an arrogant, supercilious, sanctimonious slap in the face to thousands of hard-working, imaginative and dedicated regional journalists.
I once took a web commenter to task for using the phrase ‘lazy journalists’ about one of our stories.
‘Lazy journalism’ is an accusation that stings, but which at times is painfully accurate.
But I wasn’t having ‘lazy journalists’ and I forced an apology from this keyboard warrior after updating him on my 60-hour week.
I haven’t got a problem with academics studying our industry, and I’m happy to accept legitimate, constructive criticism.
But I won’t be taking any lessons from people who clearly hold us in such outdated, cliched contempt.
And I won’t be taking any reporters from them, either.

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One thought on “Why the phrase ‘local rag’ is red rag to a bull for me

  1. Tony Hadley’s PR person described me as coming from the local rag, within earshot, just as I was about to interview him.

    I pretended not to hear. Hadley was delightful. Still think his music is rubbish, mind.

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