This evening I put a status on Facebook that read:
‘The Sentinel newspaper. Murdering grammar and syntax since God Knows When.’
Rather pithy, I thought.
I was inspired by a friend’s post about our local newspaper in the sprawling metropolis of Stoke-on-Trent. It consists of about thirty pages of advertising, stories about pocket fluff and angry people.
I once had the pleasure of doing’work experience’ for this titillating local tabloid, which the news editor had granted me as a form of pitying kindness. ‘Work experience’ or an ‘internship’ is an inherently enriching enterprise: for the company involved that is, who get all the tedious jobs nobody wants done for free.
The highlights of my time as local journo were being sent to Westport Lake in Stoke-on-Trent, whereupon I was asked to interview the ice-cream vendor about the whereabouts of the local flasher. We never did quite ascertain the ruddy-buttocked one’s location but i’m sure with the advent of GPS smartphone technology today, we would have done.
I was also despatched to a broken glass- carpeted street to door- knock ‘local residents’ and record their ‘anger’ at the rowdy pub nearby. I did get these stories published, which means my writing reached an audience of 253 people. Probably.
You may find me a tad cynical, so here are some excellent examples of local newspaper journalism. Consider this horrifying crime involving disposable kitchen ware.
Or this shattering expose’ into the horrors of public transportation.
Or finally this headline, of which Oscar Wilde would read, nod his head knowingly and proclaim: “you’ve outdone me there, son.”(Oscar Wilde speaks like Billy Connolly in my subconscious).
Tomorrow’s chip paper? Not even tomorrow’s shit paper.
That was the news.