Interesting thread this could be.
I'm taking a break for a few days and without TV or radio, my only contact with the UK is the occasional UK newspaper. It's interesting to see afresh how much of a daily paper is filled with advertising - perhaps 50% - and of the reportage, how much of it is likely to be fact and how much opinion. If I can find a shop selling fat felt tip 'Bingo markers' I thought, just for my own curiosity, I'd black out all the opinion on a page and see how much fact remains. But on a quick overview, it all looks factual. It's only when you start to deconstruct column inches sentence by sentence that you can grade the words somewhere between certainly and fantasy. Papers like the Financial Times walk a different objective path to The Times or Telegraph, or Daily Mail. But is it any wonder that the ordinary reader finds the FT 'dry' and is drawn to more titillating coverage? I don't think so. Facts alone can be rather dull, and the art of a good journalist is to concentrate on the facts but hold the reader's interest. It's a very tough call, day after day, product after product.
What I'm curious about is why someone would aspire to journalism as a career choice when there is so much competition, the barriers to entry to that profession so low and the prospect of making a good living rather slim. I guess that many would-be journalists get the bug when they are in their teens, coincidentally a time when we all have strong opinions about every subject under the sun, and know nothing about everything. The optimism of youth!
We as a brand have been remarkably well respected by legions of writers around the world for thirty + years and as I've said before, I wouldn't swap places with any of them. I just couldn't wake up every day, take in a parcel from UPS, spend a few hours with it and then write something fresh and interesting (without taking it apart and nosing around inside). I'd be so frustrated at not being able to get into the head of the designer to see what tricks and skills he'd employed that I'd not last a week. But the public seemingly expect audio journalists to become intimately and factually familiar with our manufactured products in an hour or two. What can anyone realistically analyse in just a few hours of value? It's an impossible task.
I recall a conversation I had in Japan a decade ago when I commented on the differing national styles of audio journalism. I said that it seemed to me that Japanese journalists had a great curiosity about how things are designed and why they work the way they do and they liked to look inside the case. I was informed that that revealing the inner workings (of people, of products) was a manifestation of a spiritual/religious sensitivity to the world, and that we Westerners were 'far too obsessed with the trivial, external glitz of products - and people.' And that lack of respect and curiosity for the facts is the root cause of so many problems, not just in audio.
Alan A. Shaw
Harbeth Audio UK