In the coming weeks I will be having my brickwork renovated on my house.
All of the old mortar is being removed and replaced with a natural hydraulic lime mortar, which is generally softer and more porous compared to a cement version. It allows the house to ‘breathe’ by allowing moisture to evaporate from the joints more freely and the pointing itself prevents water from collecting. The whole process itself requires skill, time and patience.
What the hell has this got to do with journalism I hear you cry? Well – the above shows precisely why journalism matters to me.
I have this constant need to understand and learn. There is no way I’ll be pointing my brickwork (as has been repeatedly made clear by my wife) but I have this fundamental need to understand the what and the how – I could also talk for hours about the beauty of ‘tuckpointing’ but I’ll save that for another day.
From an early age I’ve always had this itch to know what was happening around me and more importantly why. At 14, I did the paper round and always read the front pages before sticking them through the door. As a visual person, I was amazed at how the headline and pictures would capture that moment in time so perfectly and even now I still love poring over the front pages. I vividly remember at 17, the front cover of The Times the day after 9/11 – many people probably do too.
The way I consume news now is very different. Most of my consumption comes from digital platforms but the quality journalism still remains at the heart of it all. In a world that is – to be frank – bat-shit crazy right now, news brands are where I (and 31 million other people) turn to for understanding.
UK news brands have the best and brightest people working for them. Their insight and analysis is second to none, the areas they cover are incredible and the lengths they go to, be it reporting from the front line (literally risking their lives to do) or the amount of time they spend searching for the truth, is why journalism matters to me.
David Walsh from The Sunday Times spent 13 years (yes 13 years!), battling to reveal the truth about Lance Armstong; 13 years of being hounded by lawyers; 13 years of being ostracised by some of his peers; and 13 years of press conference confrontation with Armstong himself. Where other might of quit, he didn’t.
And after all that time [*spoiler alert], the truth was finally revealed. This is not a one-off – this desire to shine a light in those dark places is the life blood that runs through all of the newsrooms and why most journalist do what they do.
So yeah journalism matters to me but fundamentally, it matters to society.