Ever Mind the Rule of Three…

So, I’ve managed to clock up a respectable 6 weeks since my last blog post. Tremendous. I recall making a similar statement when I started my previous job all those moons ago, but the fact remains that unless you have one of those new-fangled multi-meeja jobs that everyone keeps going on about, you’re just not going to have the opportunity to blog as regularly as you’d like. As such, the most amount of action this blog has seen was during my spate of unemployment when all the posts consisted of furious ranting about the injustice of it all, peppered with anecdotal tales of rural living and my parents’ dog.

Anyway, let’s just forget about all that and focus on things in the news lately which have angered and dumbfounded me. Of which of course there are lots. But here are three which jumped out.

Elle Magazine offers homeless girl internship

Now, I don’t think I’m alone in my belief that the journalism industry, both here and abroad, is going down the pan. As such, jobs are literally like gold dust and accounts of 1000+ applicants per role are not unheard of. I graduated from the (fairly standard) PGdip course in 2008, and luckily the majority of my classmates were able to get jobs. Some, however, were not, and I can’t even imagine the ‘What Are You Doing Now?’ returns from this year’s lot. Such is the demand for jobs and work experience that publishing companies are able to dangle some really crappy scraps in the faces of new journalists and have them gobbled up gratefully; a friend of mine, for example, is doing 3 full days a week in the capacity of editorial assistant for reimbursements of £100 a MONTH.

Journalists, then – especially new ones – are being exploited, and the fact that Elle has so kindly bestowed a 1 hour a day telecommuting internship upon a homeless girl really isn’t cause for the media flurry that ensued. This girl, Bri, is still living in a beat up RV on a dust track. Her storage costs are still increasing $80 a day. And now she is the proud winner of “the most hideously humdrum internship in America.”

In the words of E. Jean, the woman who bestowed this opportunity to Bri:

“You’ll be stuck with the tedious job of organizing research for my book, transcribing interviews, and analyzing data from 1,800,000 pages (not a misprint) of a college sex survey I did on Facebook”.

And all for free! Jean goes on to say:

“At the end of the four months, if you don’t have a job and an awesome place to live, I will become your intern.”

Really? Do you think she means that or is it, perchance, a little bit of added razzle dazzle to give the whole story an even greater heart-warming slant? Look! Even though it’s all gone to shit we’re still altruistically helping the journalists of the future! I also wonder if this woman has any real concept of the merits of a journalism internship, since I’m pretty sure that all those kids I know that have slogged their arses off for sod-all in return aren’t automatically employed, nor suddenly have an ‘awesome place to live’. And they don’t  have the added disadvantage of being homeless.

Nonetheless, good on Bri for her determination and drive. I hope that she manages to manipulate the situation so that she gets as much out of it as Elle have.

O2 Broadband Routers Vulnerable to Attack

Obviously this is big news and it’s imperative that it’s bought to the public’s attention, lest they (and icky, here) find themselves the subject of a sinister hacker, but did anyone else think, as soon as the story broke, ‘Well, I’ll be buggered if every hacker in the entire world isn’t rubbing their hands with glee now’? Especially since so many sites gave pretty explicit details as to the issues involved and just how ‘potential’ hackers could go about ruining your day. Perhaps this could’ve just been kept quiet until O2 had sorted out a patch? No? It’s gotta be reported now to the detriment of every O2 user in the county? OKAY THEN.

NHS Staff Suspended Over ‘Lying Down Game’ Pictures

The best part of this whole affair was a radio interview I heard the other morning. I forget the exact details (it was Radio 1, during the Chris Moyles Show), but this nasal sounding jobsworth came on with a speech akin to the following:

“Can you imagine if you came into the hospital with a sick child or injured relative and they needed URGENT medical attention and a nurse came out and said ‘I’m very sorry but none of the doctors can be found’ and there was no-one there to help you because they were all lying face down on a heli-pad having their pictures taken?”

Possibly one of the funniest sentences I’ve ever heard on the radio. Still, Nasal McBleaty does have a point. Imagine if ALL the doctors were lying face down on a heli-pad when your sick and/or injured child and/or relative required attention. IMAGINE. Unlikely to happen though, is it? And to be honest if I found myself in a hospital with a doctor I would hope they might have spent an earlier portion of the day lying face down on a heli-pad because it might mean they’ve had a bit of a laugh and are a bit less stressed about working in such shit conditions and are therefore less likely to leave a scalpel inside my child or give MRSA to my elderly Aunt.

So instead of suspending these staff, thereby accruing months of paperwork and additional cost and stretching the NHS even further than it already is, just tell them to be a bit more careful with their privacy settings, eh? It’s not like they’re the first people to slack off at work.

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4 thoughts on “Ever Mind the Rule of Three…

  1. It is worth noting that Elle never invited any publicity whatsoever, in fact the story was already a month old when I wrote my piece and they hadn’t done a thing with it. Bri and I stirred up the media frenzy.

    Internships are almost invariably unpaid, Bri receives a stipend.

  2. Nic says:

    Is there any evidence that the staff were not on their rest breaks? Had these pictures been of them lying face up on sofas, beds etc then there would’ve been no problem at all, it’s simply a kneejerk reaction to some harmless fun by overworked professionals. My real worry is the cost and effect of suspending that amount of staff (plus if they’re face down how do they know who is who?)

    Also kudos to Elle for making a non-journalism based internship seem like the ultimate goal for all future journalists.
    I will however happily doff my cap to you, Matt, should you manage to create another ‘media frenzy’ should Bri get a job.
    My intentions are not to belittle the achievement of Bri but to express my anger with Elle, who despite being impressed by her attitude and determination enough to give her a second chance, have gone and given her a job tedious enough to crush her spirit within days.
    I honestly hope that she does gain a job on the back of this and wish her all the best in her future career.

  3. Michael says:

    Wither Bri deserved it more then a journalism student matters little. Her story was worthwhile enough to make it on CNN, and land her a spot on the Today show. Her story has instilled hope in at least a few people, and in this day and age, with so many hopelessly unemployed Bri has inspired people to find that drive and desire to succeed.

    Hopefully for her it will turn into something great, but if it doesn’t, the story may have changed lives. It’s a good thing to see something uplifting on the new’s, for once.

    1. Michael, whether Bri deserved the internship or not was never the debate here. Anyone can see that she’s put a lot of time and effort into furthering her career, perhaps more so than many journalism students that don’t have to face the difficult issue of homelessness. I feel that the issue lies in the fact that so many people believe this internship will somehow turn Bri’s fortunes around, when in reality internships of this nature do little but suck the life out of the candidate in question.

      Still, as Matt nods towards above, some good fortune may be had out of all the publicity that has ensued

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