Saturday, December 23, 2006

Sex, Lies and Videotape … A.K.A. Journalism Graduation Ceremony

Three things that seem, to many, to be linked to the world of journalism and seem to be

It was a wonderful event; so much a celebration of what had happened in the past as well as so much of what I believe in.

But, just to be difficult, I’ll be looking at Sex, Videotape and then Lies but that’s me just being difficult.

Sex …
Journalists are meant to be obsessed with this .. personally I would not want to comment. Professionally, there does seem to be a focus in so much of our reporting about the issue. In the past year Sheffield’s Prostitution and Sex Education has all come under the glare of JUS News but the ‘sex’ I refer to is a little different.

The focus of my dissertation project was the role of women in the church; in other words, how a minority sex copes in a male dominated career. Therefore, it seemed somewhat appropriate that my ceremony was the first at Sheffield to be presided at by a woman. There was something complete about it and, to boot, she was also a very nice woman.

Videotape …
So much of my studies was spent chasing video tape or its digital equivalent. Therefore, again, it was nice that much of the day was recorded photographically: professional photos beforehand in the union, family photos afterwards outside Firth Court and shots in the drinks ‘do’ afterwards (including some for internal promotion). My Mother even jokes that she had to clap particularly loudly when I was presented my degree as Bro and Daddy were so busy snapping away.

What was charming was that at the same time as my name was called out a large cheer went up to which the female Pro-Vice Chancellor said that ‘You obviously have some fans out there!’

In the drinks ‘do’ afterwards, it was good to catch up with both my coursemates and the staff who had taught me. My tutors said some very kind things both to my parents and myself as well as giving me encouragement/kick up the backside to get the job that I am capable of. It felt very much like a conclusion not just to this stage of academia but to education in general; it felt like the moment to move forward.

That said, there were some moments of the couple of days away that I would not want to be recorded for posterity. Bro and I consumed a couple of bottles of wine at the hotel, two Pizzas and various snacks which resulted in general ‘fun’ behaviour, smuggling pizza boxes into the hotel as well as to the bin and a mislaid door pass. All fun, if a little studenty. It was our last moment to be students and it felt good to mark its passing. We have now reached the real world. Such times will still happen but (probably) less frequently as well as in a different way (I would say more grown-up but that would be a lie).

So the tape was well and truly wound on that day, both metaphorically and literally.

Lies …
Perhaps, though, the best moments of the few days was the time spent chatting with family and friends. On the night before graduation, I met up with a friend over from Greece for the event and we spent a couple of hours reminiscing, drinking beer and sorting each other’s lives out. It was very encouraging about how I plan my career. Some truths became clear: I am not yet a journalist, I am still training and have a long way to go. I also need to be more decisive and bold about my career. Local Radio Journalism is not for me; I don’t really have the voice or the desire to spend my life doing that. For me, production, researching and organising broadcasts is what I really want to do. Therefore, I have to be honest in my applications as well as to myself. In the New Year, I will go and give the buggers hell until I get that job.

But the best moment was when we discussed accusations by people we come into contact with thinking that all journalists are liars and cannot be trusted. To this my friend came with two retorts. Both of which make a fitting conclusion to a review of a Journalism Graduation Day. I repeat the as thanks to all the friends, colleagues and staff at Sheffield and particularly to ‘Malaka’ for making me smile and learn both during graduation and over the last year:

‘Yes, journalists lie … but the audience are the fools who believe it.’

But more importantly

‘Everyone lies, journalists just do it with style.’



Anonymous Anonymous said...

chris my friend this poem by cavafy is dedicated to you...

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon -- do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

4:12 PM  

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