Thursday, August 02, 2012

Moot point

“Does a rumour have to be false?”

The newsroom was quiet: one of those days in high summer when journalists sit around waiting for a disaster, just to have something to do. It’s not so much that we want bad things to happen, it’s just that they make better copy. And easier stories too. A good train wreck writes itself. But today was off: not exactly silly season, but close to it.

People outside the business think that journalists spend all day in a noisy office with a phone glued to their ear, a cigarette hanging out of their mouths, a cold coffee in one hand and typing with the other, but those times are long gone. Well, maybe the phone and the coffee bits are true.  And press rooms are noisy, that’s for sure. When we’re all typing hard it’s like thousands of hammers going fifty to the dozen. And people shout at each other: orders, insults, and questions, lots of questions. Like this latest one.
Exact definitions of words matter to us, even though most readers think we’re hacks. A swift discussion broke out about the meaning of rumour but failed to reach a conclusion, so somebody got out a dictionary. Honest. I told you, we care.

“Says here it’s something that has no grounding in fact. Without proof. What’s the sentence you’re putting it in? Can you rephrase?”

“Don’t be daft. It’s not for a story. It’s just that I know something about one of the guys in the print room and I know it’s true. But I hate to gossip!”

From today's Thinkig Ten prompt


BRIDGET said...

Ah, I remember news rooms like that with the air blue from cigarette smoke and the language used...

snafu said...

But isn’t that kind of usage, the difference between correct and colloquial English?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Morning AJ - moot point indeed. It's subjective too ... so many believe what's written .. interesting post - thanks - Hilary