You will hear an interview in which two journalists called Jenny Langdon and Peter Sharples are talking about their work. Choose the answer which fits best according to what you hear.
- What does Jenny say about the story which made her name?
- What does Jenny suggest about the editor she worked for on her first national daily newspaper?
- When Jenny got her own daily column on the newspaper, she felt
- Peter thinks he got a job on Carp Magazine thanks to
- Peter and Jenny agree that courses in journalism
- When asked about their novels, Peter and Jenny reveal
Int: Today we’re looking at careers in journalism. My guests are Jenny Langdon and Peter Sharples, both regular columnists on major publications. Jenny, you made your name really young, didn’t you?
F: Relatively, yes. I was a raw recruit on the local paper when ascandal broke concerning a celebrity living nearby. Out of the blue I found myself with a scoop on my hands. Basically, I found the guy, interviewed him, then hid him someplace where reporters on rival papers wouldn’t find him. When the story broke next day, the editorial team had actually cobbled the front-page story together from my notes, but it was attributed to me by name. Before I knew what was happening, I’d been headhunted by a national daily. It was a turning point alright – but I can hardly claim it as a shrewd career move or anything!
Int: And the editor at that national daily was a notoriously bad- tempered individual …
F: Well, there’s no denying he deserved that reputation! I mean, having landed a dream job, I was really thrown in at the deep end! My desk was right outside his office, so I was first in the firing line if anything went wrong – even stuff I’d had no hand in! But I knew better than to argue, and was thick-skinned enough not to take it personally. Anyway that’s what the paper was like, always on the edge, and I really flourished in that environment.
Int: Eventually getting your own daily column ..
F:… and that’s where I really came into my own. I mean, I’d done stints on the sports desk, been celebrity correspondent – the works. Actually, I only got offered the column as a stop-gap when my predecessor left under a cloud. But I was desperate tohold on to it. And it came at just the right time – if itd been earlier, I’d never have had the nerve or the experience to make it my own.
Int: Let’s bring Peter in here. You started off on the celebrity magazine called Carp, didn’t you?
M: 1 did. Ostensibly thanks to a speculative letter to the editor when I was still a student. Actually, I’d been doing stuff for a student newspaper all through university. Skills I learnt there stood me in good stead. When Carp Magazine called me for interview, my approach to college news convinced them I was in touch with reality – you know, budgets, deadlines, all that – that’s what swung it in my favour – it wasn’t just having my finger on the pulse as far as youth culture was concerned – important as that was at Carp.
Int: Can I ask you both whether you’d say courses in journalism are worth doing? Jenny?
F: Well, I wanted to write and a journalism course seemed a reasonable enough starting point. Journalism s at least paid up front – unlike some forms of writing, and there’s no denying that was an incentive. So, yes, I did one. And, you know, if I hadn’t, who knows if I’d have been able to handle the stuff thrown at me when I first arrived at the newspaper – it does give you that grounding. But I wouldn’t say it taught me everything I needed. Fortunately a stint on the student newspaper filled in the gaps.
M: .. as is s0 often the case. They’re often criticised for taking too strong a line on issues, but they’re invaluable because they give you that free rein, and you’re generally writing from the heart rather than for the money. I’d say by all means do a course, theorise all you like in the classroom, but just bear in mind that it’s no substitute for getting out there – for developing your own style.
Int: Now you’ve both recently published novels – s this a change of direction?
F: People keep asking that. I like to think that, much as I rate myself as a journalist and feel I have nothing left to prove, I’m still up for the next thing that comes along. Ill never be a prize- winning novelist, but having a go at it keeps me on my toes. It would be easy enough to get stale doing a column like mine, but that does remain my grand passion – I don’t know about you Peter, but I’m hardly thinking of moving on.
M: Well, I expect there’s people who’d say we should stand aside to give up-and-coming writers a chance. But, no, I’m not. I’d go along with the idea of diversification keeping you nimble though, and I’m not making great claims for my novel either. But would take issue with the idea that journalism itself holds no further challenge. I wish I had your confidence Jenny – I’m always telling myself that I’m only as good as my last piece and there’s no room for complacency.
Int: And there we must leave it. Thank you both … [fade]