Last week on Talking Books, my radio show on 10Radio, I was thrilled to welcome the lovely Rin Hamburgh (nee Simpson) to talk about journalism. I wanted to discuss her life in writing, what inspired her and how she negotiates all the obstacles the editors seem to put in the way of those keen to get their point across in print.
There are a lot of reasons to be cynical about journalists at the moment. The Leveson Inquiry and court cases that, as the time of writing, are ongoing are very depressing for anyone who believes in the freedom of the press and the wonderful way in which British newspapers (well most of them) have covered key events and important issues over the years. Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, disturbingly close friends of high ranked government ministers both, face years in prison if they are found guilty of phone hacking whilst working at the News of the World. The public have, rightly been disgusted at the lengths journalists will go to in order to get a story they deem to be in the public interest.
But journalism is not all about the tabloids. Nor is it all about getting sales by telling tales. There are many people out there writing about important issues at local and national levels. They are writing about health and well being and about things that are important to us in our daily lives – child rearing, the welfare system, how we protect vulnerable elderly people, our housing, gardening, crafts, music, weddings…. the list is endless.
Rin is one of those journalists that you know will be honest and make sure a story is told with integrity. We had a great chat on air about what makes her sit up and think ‘yes – that is a great story!’ and she offered lots of hints and tips for wannabe journos to make sure any pitch gets to the top of the Editor’s list and into print. If you have ever had an idea that you thought would make a good article or want to highlight an issue of importance to you, then listen to the show and hear Rin’s views on the best way to success.
Rin now works with Jo Middleton, another writer with loads of expertise in social media. They both featured in and helped with Dandelions and Bad Hair Days, an anthology I published last year for mental health charity SANE. They now offer training and mentoring to those who want to make the most of writing and social media in their business, as a freelancer or just for interest – see Inside Scoop for more details. She had more than one new fan before she even left the 10Radio studio and I know there will be some ideas heading her way after this interview. So thanks Rin – you really are the ethical face of journalism….