Journalists appear in fiction in many guises and play many roles. Sometimes they provide central characters, often they intrude on the action, their attentions as unwelcome as they often are in real life. Scoop! gathers together these appearances under a variety of themes, some amusing, some trivial, some giving an insight into how the Press works and how it is seen to impact on our society. If you have favourite representations of journalists in European fiction or insights into ways they are portrayed, please email Scoop!
Journalism, like all professions, has its own language and authors must judge how much of this technical knowledge their readers might share. A few pages into Exit, Orange and Red, reporter Constance Amory phones her news editor, Gary, with a story. He is not impressed:
"Nib then. Just bang out a couple of pars for first time."
"I think it is worth more than a nib."
"Look, Con, I'm going into conference in a minute - I'll ask the editor if he'll send you on a copy-tasting course."
Here Martyn Bedford assumes his readers know that a nib means "news in brief", and understand the role of a copytaker, the importance of conference, and that evening papers usually have several editions. Elsewhere, however, he draws on a tendency common to many characters in fiction (and real life), that of knowing exactly what a reporter does and happily telling them so.
For example, when an interviewee tries to downplay an incident, he tells Constance:
"I know you are hoping for - what d'you call it - a "splash". But..." He looked at her. "Today's front page story could be tomorrow's correction, with apologies."
So now we know what a splash is. Other writers are rather less subtle than Bedford....