13 July 2017

The first week is nearly over

I'm tired, my feet and legs are killing me, and I'll be spending the next couple of hours researching issues relating to old people. I can honestly say I have never had more fun in my life. This course is one of the best things that I've ever done.

Shorthand first thing this morning, as usual. I love it. It makes such a difference when I'm writing notes. It's like learning another language only 100 times faster. At this point, it's automatic (though I have been practicing since March). As a matter of pride, I've decided I want to be able to get to around 300 wpm. This is going to cost me a lot of paper and ink.

We also had our first one-to-one session. According to Roberta, very few journalists are in their line of work because they were inspired by a particular publication (in my case, Private Eye). She's promised to push me as far as I want to go- which for me essentially means off a cliff. I am nothing if not ambitious.

Aspirations of work at the Eye meant today's research on Freedom of Information was particularly useful. People request the wildest information. We found records of people asking for the whereabouts of opera hats, street names, 24-hour off-licences, and digital rectal examination and manual faecal excavation procedures. I don't think I even want to know why somebody was looking for that.

Apparently we're going to be interviewing Roberta tomorrow. This is terrifying. But it's also an essential skill, and one that has taken on a particular relevance for me. As I mentioned, we're producing a trade magazine marketed towards old people. I also referred to my deep admiration for Private Eye. What do you get when you combine these two facts? Hours trying to figure out a legitimate story that would allow me to interview Richard Ingrams.

This isn't an entirely selfish ploy. As a former editor of The Oldie (which I had to go out and purchase specially) he is relevant to our Prime Opportunities magazine. But mostly I'm just desperate to meet not only the founder and first editor of Private Eye, but also someone who knew both Peter Cook and Paul Foot. (If anybody got the nod to Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in that last sentence, please tell me. None of my uni friends have any idea what I'm talking about.)

Now I'm going to write that cover letter and find an angle for that Richard Ingrams interview. Fun times.

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