Have you seen The Newsroom? It’s an American drama where a news anchor decides he’s going to make the transformation from Ron Burgundy to, well, someone brimming with integrity and with a fixation on The Truth. But the truth is a notoriously flexible thing, so clearly he’s on a hiding to nothing.
The fact that the anchor and his brilliant producer/ex girlfriend-with-whom-he-is-still-in-love have been dropped into the televisual bastard lovechild of The Office and Ally McBeal is somewhat distracting. However, it creates a interesting collection of personalities that one might suppose represent the cast of any real news organisation.
Along with many journalism dramas there is:
- The top dog of the newsroom, male, arrogant, yet ultimately tragic.
- Board room battler. Someone on the top floor prepared to fight for the ordinary hacks, yet ultimately tragic.
- Girl on the way up. Talented young woman inevitably in a romantic tangle. Ultimately tragic.
- One of the lads. Beer, tits, sport. Ultimately tragic.
- Old school stickler, has a secret. (Likely to be a subeditor) Ultimately tragic.
But what real news rooms always have that never seem to make it into fiction are:
- Women with families. Sneaking off to phone the school our throwing a sickie cos the kids have chicken pox do not make good telly apparently. Nor, it seems, does tension between parents and non-parents over, say, the Christmas rota.
- Sexist old (or not so old) goats. Not tragic ones ripe for redemption by love, no, nasty misogynistic old farts who only tolerate women because the law says they must.
- Drunks. not tragic ones with a heart breaking back story. Just lushes who smell nasty.
- People on the autistic spectrum. They have long found comfort and shelter in a newsroom. Do not confuse with fictional geeks redeemed by love.
- Closet homosexuals. One in every office, inevitably, even now. Probably missed the boat for coming out and now think they’d just look silly.
- Bullies. Being a promoted journalist does not automatically create access to the skills of a good manager, instead, for some, the new business cards come with carte blanche to shout and throw one’s weight about.