Saturday, September 17, 2016
'Even hardened newsmen' . . . and other myths
I remember as a teenage copy boy back in the day making a point of reading the text beneath the red pen lines of the subbed copy I had to dash off to the composing room. I did it because a likely lass who'd been in the job a few months longer warned me not to. Too gruesome, she said. The bits they take out. But I was young. So these were the juicy bits the guys in green eye shades had all the fun of censoring. Storyful and Reported.ly and other eyewitness organisations are having to adopt policies to protect their, I imagine quite youngish, staff from the worst effects of days spent trawling social feeds and coming across what Storyful’s news projects chief Derek Bowlder describes as “unmediated and graphic evidence of brutality”. One of the reasons the organisation has teamed up with a Dublin-based counselling service to introduce an Employee Assistance Program which lets them seek help in confidence if they feel unduly affected. And all power to them. It's not that long ago an expression of disgust at an unsavoury scenario or other would have been met with an empathetic nod but a request for "a few minutes' fresh air" would have prompted raised eyebrows and a dismissed with a simple: “wuss”.