My Turn to Make the Tea, by Monica Dickens, is the hugely entertaining tale of a young woman beginning a career in a 1950s provincial newsroom; I am very grateful to my colleague Alistair Robinson for the recommendation.
Here, the narrator (dubbed Poppy by her fellow reporters "for no better reason than that a Sunday paper was running a crude cartoon about a blonde called Poppy Pink") recalls her first visit to the Downingham Post:
I was surprised when I first came to this room for an interview. I had expected the editorial office, even of a provincial weekly, to be more impressive. I had expected Mr Pellet to look like an editor, not like a man who prods pigs with a stick on market day.
.... (Pellet) was the most unliterary man I had ever seen. Journalism is not literature, he was always telling me. I thought it ought to be, although the others downstairs told me that when I had been there as long as they had, I wouldn't waste my time thinking up original adjectives which the old man always replaced with some tired favourites from stock.
I can clearly remember realising my first interview attempt was doomed when I started gushing about the inspiring brilliance of George Orwell's journalism; a pretentious kid just out of university wasn't what this paper wanted.