The things a veteran learns working with up-and-coming journalists

It can also work the other way – I delight in correcting colleagues who were only in nappies when Tony Blair was prime minister

Sean O'Grady
Sunday 19 May 2019 16:21
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All news organisations need to be broad churches. Obviously The Independent is a proudly progressive institution, and its staffers may count themselves fortunate that their own liberal values and those of the organisation are more or less closely aligned. In a media landscape still dominated by the big battalions of small- and big-c Conservativism and a vicious Euroscepticism, there are many journalists who have no such luck practising the trade.

It helps too for any workplace, and especially one that thrive on fresh ideas, to be diverse – class, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, cultural and political tastes, and I think especially in age. For example, I delight in correcting colleagues who were in nappies when Tony Blair was prime minister and describing how great things actually were back then (pre-Iraq at any rate); and dispelling any creeping Corbynite illusions that the 1970s were some sort of social democratic paradise, because I was there and I can remember the lights going out – literally.

In return? Well, thanks in particular to the younger folk on the Voices desk, I now realise that the late Grumpy Cat wasn’t a grime artist at all, as I had rather assumed, and that Dizzee Rascal isn’t a Jack Russell who can chase and catch his own tail, but a highly popular musician. I fancy myself to be also much more woke these days, and, speaking as a cis male (which I first misheard as “cissy”), also much more aware of the complexities of the debate about trans rights. I also know that that is about all I should say about this controversial topic, because I am plenty old enough to know better. So I shall leave it there for now.

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