Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I predict a riot, except I didn't and neither did anyone else

I've spent the day, when I really should have been concentrating on my glossy magazine stuff, compiling stuff on what British ex-pats think about the riots for the ever brilliant Khaleej Times.

The premise of my story is that I, as a person living abroad, worries that the England I will go back to visit and eventually for good will be a changed place with new, tougher criminal justice laws intended to crack down on people who think the police shooting of a man is a good reason to go out and nick a microwave.

I felt the same during the News of the World malarkey because the actions of a few will probably eventually mean that privacy laws are tightened to prevent it happening again meaning the job will be harder for mid- ranking hacks like me.

Things I have discovered today are:

1. I am still really, really crap at vox pops. 

2. British ex-pat men are pretty happy to say what they think in a newspaper but British ex-pat women, less so, particularly if you ask them to have their picture in the paper.

3. I am the only over-opinionated prima donna that I know in Dubai apart from possibly one of my bosses.  That must be why we got on so well.

4. I am somewhat rusty at this news reporting lark.  Just ask a certain editor who was greeted with roughly 17million words of copy to sort out half an hour past deadeline

5. Trying to do news reporting to a first edition deadline while simultaneously trying to do a different assignment which involves arguing with people in PR about why they can't just send us one image instead of 1GB of info that we have to dig image out of and crashes our computer is not a good plan. Still, I signed up to this freelancing thing so I shouldn't complain.

6. Not many people share my opinion that Britain will change thanks to the riots.  Must remember to check people think what I think they think before I start writing a story.

I am genuinely appreciative of everyone who's put up with me ruthlessly mining you for information and pics today, particularly when I'm the only one getting paid for it (it's not very much if that makes you feel any better) and when some of you have been directly affected by having your communities torn up by these little plonkers.

I couldn't include everything that was sent to me, some of it because there just wasn't room and some of it because it might have looked like we were taking the mick. 

One of the ommissions was this comedy gold nugget that one of the Sand Warlock's colleagues sent to me in response to being asked if he knew anyone directly affected by the riots. I thought it should reach a wider audience even though it didn't make it into the hallowed pages of the KT.

"I once shopped with Carpetright, and although not in the Tottenham branch, it’s still sad they’ve been targeted. I can’t think why they’d be victimised; I bought a really lush rug at a competitive price and experienced nothing but fine customer service throughout – I can only imagine wrong place at the wrong time?"

I think that says it all.

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