The Problem with Snobs

I know you’re all probably sick to death to hear my ranting and raving about journalism, but let me get this off my chest and maybe if you’re lucky I’ll talk next time about my eventful trip to St Andrews which involves bookshops, food and two attractive surfers stripping out of their wetsuits 20 feet away from me.

Snob: a person with an exaggerated respect for high social position or wealth who seeks to associate with social superiors and looks down on those regarded as socially inferior.

a person who believes that their tastes in a particular area are superior to those of other people.

Unfortunately throughout life you’ll meet people who you don’t particularly like, but the worst ones will try and put you down. Now some of these people are just plain rude, but the ones I want to rant about today are the snobs.

19 Annoying Things That Can Happen At The Gym

As I can’t speak for everyone, I’ll just speak from my own experience and yes, you guessed it, I’m afraid that means I’ll be using the example of journalism and in particular UK newspapers.

Nowadays there are newspapers for everyone, so you’re sure to find one that suits you better than the rest. Unfortunately some people use papers purely for status reasons which in turn creates a crowd of snobs who will undoubtedly force their opinions down your throat because their opinions are of course the only ones that matter and they are obviously the only ones that are right. People will claim that they read certain papers (when actually they don’t and are just namedropping) to appear intelligent. This means that they mock and scorn other papers in the process. 

For example, I’ve met a lot of people – and some too close to home for my liking – who mock papers like The SunThe Daily MirrorThe Star and more. Some have even gone on to say that I can do ‘so much better’ than having work experience at The Sun, but ‘hey, you’ve got to start somewhere’. 

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Umm, EXCUSE ME? Have you forgotten that The Sun is the TOP UK NEWSPAPER? Or the fact that it is produced by News UK, who also publish The Times and The Sunday Times – two newspapers that are often used as sources for ‘intellectual’ conversations. How about the fact that getting work experience at a national newspaper is bloody difficult to get? How about the fact that I secured this work experience on my own at the age of seventeen without having any other experience other than an article published online and helping out at a Music Journal? 

SPNG Tags: Dean / Angry / fdjldjflsajfaNO /
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Now what these people tend to forget is that every paper has a different purpose. Hell, the first rule about journalism is to focus on your form, purpose and audience. Take The Sun; they aim to deliver news in a short, snappy, concise style. They throw in witty lines and funny quips when appropriate. They write in a way that allows anyone and everyone to understand and access the news – I mean, who wants to read a newspaper with a dictionary by your side? They focus on publishing stories that you’d tell your mate down at the pub. Yes there are a few articles you may not like, but how is that different from every other paper? You can’t possibly claim that you agree with everything The Telegraph, for example, produces. 

SPNG Tags: Sassy gay Sam / look at your life / look at your choices / bitch face
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If everyone was a little less concerned with their own reputation and what others think of them, then maybe we wouldn’t have to deal with these snobbish attitudes which only put other people and their views down. 

I suppose I can only dream of a world like that. After all, I do only have experience at The Sun

SPNG Tags: Dean / Jensen / Struttin his stuff / on the catwalk / on the catwalk / yeah
A special thanks to jackhawksmoor for submitting this! This category definitely needed some fleshing out. :)
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Day 6 in Manchester

Wow, the final day already – I’m not kidding when I say it feels like I’ve barely been here a couple of days, let alone a week. I still remember that awful journey getting here and the almost as awful journey back to get results. I’m pretty sure the amount of travelling I’ve done coupled with the stress I’ve had can’t be healthy, but hey ho there you go.

We had a prophetic sounding final breakfast in the holy place called Costa after handing in our room keys to the hotel. I made the mistake of having a sickly drink and a sickly sweet muffin, meaning that I was feeling a little off when we trekked up to the office. Thank goodness we didn’t have to climb stairs as I’m sure I wouldn’t have made it up to the sixteenth floor. Then again, stairs might have been better as the man that got in the lift with us proceeded to fart and depart on floor five, leaving Bekki and I choking and gagging for the next eleven floors.

The office was pretty empty today, with other three others beside Bekki and I, in the Sun section. One of the reporters was off to find out some information on a story by a hotel. It involved having to ask some of the guests what had happened, but to make sure he wasn’t stepping on anyone’s toes the reporter kept in the car park only to have a ‘friendly’ hotel manager come out to shout, swear and threaten him with not only someone who would follow the reporter home, but also to punch him and break his nose. Unfortunately this happens frequently according to the other reporters – it seems that everyone wants newspapers to know everything so that the public can access all the interesting information, but as soon as a reporter comes near them it’s like they switch into ‘All journalists are evil and must be stopped’ mode, sure that all journalists are satan’s advocates and are out to taint their souls.

SPNG Tags: Lucifer / Forked Tongue / Screw You
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We actually had the chance to work on an article together and have it sent off for a possible feature in tomorrow’s paper, which I’ll definitely blog about if it’s a successful attempt! It’s incredible exciting to even think that there might be a possibility of being published in the UK’s leading newspaper, but I’m trying not to get my hopes up just in case. (But really I am definitely getting my hopes up because come on, who wouldn’t?)

The Head of the Manchester Sun offices, who actually gave us the work experience offer, chatted with us about the newspaper and actually offered a real insight to the UK’s national papers. In no way meaning that The Sun was any better than any other national, he told us that any of The Sun reporters could work at somewhere like the Times or the Telegraph easily, but the skills you need for the Sun are very particular so they would struggle to fit in. You can write a great article, only for an editor to chop it down to two sentences that still say everything you said, just in a more concise manner – and maybe even more entertaining if suitable for the topic. I’ve met so many people who make a silly face when the Sun is mentioned, turning their noses up at it in perfect snobbish fashion due to the legendary page 3 and it’s ‘dumbed down’ writing style. This week has really shown me how wrong those people are as I’ve found it a real challenge to make my writing more concise with a wittier style to suit the Sun readers.

We met another great journalist who seemed a lot more relatable to in some ways, but completely not in others. Probably one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve met, this journalist told us all about how she entered the journalism world and how she spent a lot of time at the Sun. She literally rang them up on a Thursday afternoon, said that she wanted to intern and makes great tea, told them of past experiences before then informing them that she’d see them on the following Monday. Apparently she turned up, took the office by storm and now says that it was probably the best thing she’s ever done.

SPNG Tags: Dean Winchester / He’s Batman / DEAL WITH IT
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After taking us out for drinks, Bekki and I had to say goodbye to the Manchester Sun team to head on home. We went to the station, grabbed some dinner from M&S, paid an outrageous fee of 30p to use the bathroom and finally boarded our train.

All in all, this week was a whirlwind and I wish I could do it all over again, but one thing is for certain: they’re going to be receiving a crap ton of emails from me in the coming years just to make sure they don’t forget me. Who knows, maybe I’ll write some reviews for music and books for the Sun in the future – I suppose you’ll all have to stick around and see.

This concludes the end of the Manchester journey.

HOLY CRAP BATMAN.

Day 5 in Manchester

Results day has come and gone like a rocket on fire with a bunch of screaming teenagers inside. (How about that for a simile?) Waking up with a dog on my bed certainly made me feel like home and I almost – almost – missed the room in Manchester with it’s thin duvet, awful mattress and scratchy sheets. 

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Back to results – HUZZAH I’m into my first choice: Kings College London! Although it was an AAA offer, they accepted my application with A*AB with A* in English and B in Geography (only a few UMS off an A grrr). 

After the stressful panic that was this morning, I took the train back to good ol’ Manchester. The journey was pretty uneventful, but on my first train the only space left for me was by the toilets. (Thanks to the guy who was in there for 10 minutes and left a stink that rivals the Swamp monster in his wake.) On the second train, I thought I was in a pretty secluded spot so when ‘Defying Gravity’ sung by Idina Menzel in the musical Wicked came on, it felt like nobody could see me. This meant that of course I nodded my head along to the music, punched my fist in the air a few times and shamelessly mouthed all the words. What didn’t help was looking up through the crack of the two seats in front of me to see a guy giving me the weirdest look I think I’ve ever seen in my life. Also one I’m bound to see again in the future. 

One of the funniest things about the journey was that I sent a text to my Dad, excited about my offer, saying ‘Holy crap, batman!’. He called me about thirty seconds later to ask if I knew his car reads out his texts when he’s driving and it caused quite a panic when his car suddenly exclaimed ‘HOLY CRAP’. I wish I was there to see it. 

I didn’t have long in the office today unfortunately, just a couple of hours, but we managed to pack quite a bit in anyway. Bekki and I were given a task to find a story within an article, and of course we spent our time trying to think of a witty headline and puns to fit the story. It was about someone escaping a prison sentence due to the fact that he was the carer for his children, and what Bekki and I didn’t think of was that this story wouldn’t fit a national newspaper, but what is interesting is the fact that a mother walked out on her husband and twelve children, one that was only a baby. It was interesting to learn about trying to find the story within an article that will appeal and sell to a wider audience, in this case even gaining a whole page spread. 

After this enlightenment, Bekki and I wandered through a Chinese market and decided to pick up a Moon Cake each to try. Admittedly, it was the cheapest one we could find so the one bite of it we had didn’t really go down well, but at least we tried. We made up for it by going for dinner in China town (see all the shameless pictures I took below) and it was another first for Bekki. Of course what didn’t help was her wanting to call the Chinese waiter cute, so attempted to be ‘incognito’ by saying ‘He is so kawaii!’. The plan was clearly not thought through. Also it didn’t help that Bekki decided his name should be Wan U, only to be incredibly disappointed when his name turned out to be Choi. Dear me.

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And I’m afraid that’s all I’ve got for today. It’s our last day tomorrow, so the last day blog might not be up until Saturday as we get back late – but I’ll try my very bestest. 

Day 4 in Manchester

After today, I feel like I should write a book called ‘The Perks of being a journo’ – unlikely to become a bestseller but, hey, it would make me happy. 

Today has been a bit of a roller coaster day for me, mainly because results are tomorrow and my mood went up and down whenever I was reminded of this fact. This is why this post is going up early today (aka before any funky dinner snaps) as I’m getting the 2 hour train home tonight to get results in the morning then travel back again. Jeez

Also – shutting down UCAS and MyApplication the day before results, refusing to let it go live until tomorrow morning at 8.15am?

Going To An All Girls' School: Stereotypes Vs. Reality

Anyway, today was actually pretty interesting. Bekki and I had a hazard-free morning on the way to work, if you forget the fact that Bekki was wearing (really cute) sandals whilst it was raining. We stopped by Costa for breakfast (and no I’m not getting paid for advertising…but that would be nice Costa if you’re out there) which for me consisted of a (very healthy) White Chocolate and Raspberry muffin. I can say that we most definitely ate our muffins with the utmost sophistication.

Going To An All Girls' School: Stereotypes Vs. Reality

It’s also just occurred to me that I’ve used more brackets in this post already than I think I have in any other post I’ve written. Weird.

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We weren’t even at the office for an hour today before we started the two minute walk to court! Along with one of the reporters, we sat in on several cases and even on one that could potentially make a national paper. I found it so interesting that in some cases people couldn’t come to their hearing, such as someone in prison, so there were lots of video calls instead. Another fun thing is that in direct view of the waiting hall before entering the court rooms is a perfectly placed billboard in the car park advertising ‘Criminal Solicitors’. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I call effective marketing. 

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Now this whole ‘Perks of being a Journo’ comes in when we come back from the court as not only were Bekki and I given a free notebook and pen (seriously, they’re expensive these days), but Greggs casually dropped by a hamper to The Sun office to try some new sandwiches. FREE FOOD, people. Definite perk. 

After lunch and writing up one of the cases, Bekki and I were given a slightly disturbing/fascinating/addictive website that is the perfect tool for journalists. It essentially allows you to type in any name or address or date of birth and find a list of people who you can click on to find more information. AKA the perfect weapon for stalking. I’ll admit, I thought it was pretty cool when I typed in my name and it popped up – what was not cool was realising that anyone could type in my name and find out my number, address and date of birth. Yikes. 

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This brings me to now, procrastinating as I pack my bag to go home and trying not to think about results tomorrow, eating minstrels as if they’ll build a shield against the horrors the future may bring. 

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Hopefully tomorrow’s blog will be a bit cheerier. 

Hopefully.

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Day 3 in Manchester

I am happy to say that today was better than yesterday, mainly because we can smugly say ‘We know tomorrow’s news today’ because, well, we worked on it! Both Bekki and I woke up with slightly less-cricked necks, but unfortunately I then had to pick out some popcorn I’d missed in my bed last night.

It felt really cool turning on the TV this morning to see stories that yesterday we’d been writing about, but what did break my heart was the awful news of the passing of Robin Williams. I grew up watching Aladdin, Jumanji and, my favourite, Mrs Doubtfire. To think that such a wonderful person isn’t alive anymore just makes me want to start crying all over again.

Work today was a lot more interesting than it was yesterday and, thankfully, it rained today only once when we were inside – progress! Guy Patrick, the head of The Sun Manchester office and who gave us the work experience, was back in today and it was great hearing from him. Over a cup of coffee, he told us all about a typical day and the usual going-on’s of the office and even of the bad reputation The Sun gained after an article entitled ‘The Truth’ which still to this day stops many Liverpool readers from picking up The Sun. For those of you who aren’t aware, this article was stating that victims of Hillsborough were disrespected by being urinated on or having belongings taken by Liverpool fans. This wasn’t said to be fact, but someone working for The Sun ran the article and entitled it ‘The Truth’. Despite the fact that no one involved in that article works at The Sun anymore or the fact that no one at The Sun now condones it, people still boycott The Sun for this reason alone.

I find it so interesting that a single article can have such an impact and that, fifteen years later, it’s effect hasn’t waned.

Anyway, after that we went back to the office and helped out one of the reporters research by trying to find out some facts like location etc. It did feel a little like detective work at one point, but the best part was spending most of the day on Twitter searching for any leads or information.

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After that, we had the chance for more coffee and talking with two of the reporters we’ve been working with telling us about their very different pathways into journalism. One went from the bottom to the top, making her way through agencies until landing a job at a national newspaper and the other got into the Sun on a graduate programme. I always love hearing about how people get into the jobs they’re in now, but their advice was not to do Journalism as a field of study in college/university – not because it’s bad as many people in the office did Journalism at university, but they reasoned that if you have a degree in something else (like English, History, Geography etc) then at least you have something to fall back on so you don’t have to worry should Journalism not work out as well as you’d hoped.

After our second round of coffee, we were back to the office to have a look into features which was really interesting. It was more like a Buzzfeed style and basically our task was finding the source of a Vine video, finding out the names and ages of the people in it and where they were from. We then had to take it a step further by saying what made this certain Vine interesting and scrolling through tons of internet pages to see if we could find any quotes to use.

Finally it was the end of the day and, after movie night, Bekki and I were knackered. This was really shown on the elevator down as we stopped on the fifth floor, but Bekki wanted to get a move on so pressed the button to close the doors. I’ll probably never forget the look on the poor chap’s face when he looked up to his phone to see the long-awaited elevator arrive, only to have the doors shut in his face.

We went home for a quick breather, and my favourite part is when we use our card to a room as when you insert it in the door it makes a little buzzing sound that sounds like the door is burping. Then went straight back out again for dinner at a really sweet little Italian called Caio Bella that was basically underground – Bekki’s first time in a restaurant! The windows at the top of the restaurant showed the pavement, so I won’t be walking past in a skirt anymore. The food was nice and brought to us quickly and, again, cheap! We both had two courses each (and I couldn’t finish all my main dinner, which never happens, so they weren’t shy in portions) and it was all only £8.95 with drinks excluded! Thinking about it, we’re doing really well on the not-spending-all-our-money front.

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We’re back at the hotel now still trying to drag out the great day seeing as I’m missing my prom at home which, although kinda sucks, doesn’t feel too bad as I’m out in a new city meeting incredible people and working at the UKs top newspaper – yeah, not too bad at all.

Day 2 in Manchester

The day didn’t start off well as the uncomfortable hotel bed left me with a crick in my neck, not to mention the crazy hair; the provided hairdryer was broken so through the night my hair settled into a mussed up, frizzy, wavy mess. Really good way to make a first impression on the journalists I’ll be spending the rest of the week with. I really wanted this to be the day to waltz into the offices looking polished and perfect, with my action face on. The universe decided that today was not that day.

Going To An All Girls' School: Stereotypes Vs. Reality001

Bekki and I left the hotel a bit too early and stopped by Costa for breakfast. It was all going well until we tried to access the toilets, only to find that there was a code for the toilets on the bottom of the receipt….is this normal? I feel like this isn’t normal, mainly because it’s never happened to me before. What’s wrong with leaving the toilets accessible without a lock?

On we marched to the building where The Sun office was located and it’s safe to say that it looked incredibly imposing, which made us feel a little out of our depth. At the reception desk, we were greeted by one nice receptionist and one not so nice receptionist who must not have had her coffee fix this morning seeing as when we went through the wrong entrance (who knew there was a wrong entrance?) she spat out ‘Come on, wake up girls’. Again, not a great start.006003009

Up we went to the sixteenth floor and when we finally arrived we warily crept into the room for The Sun, Times and Sunday Times like two children entering the teacher’s lounge for the first time. We found the table which belonged to The Sun and for the rest of the day spent our time with four reporters (I think). Everyone had their own space with a new computer and old keyboard, not to mention the large TV on the wall that was on Sky News all day. 

The first task of the day was reading today’s papers, making sure we were up to date and hadn’t missed any important stories. Then we went online and scanned through all the local papers we could find, searching again for any big stories that had been missed and should go in the paper or any new, fun, quirky stories that could make the national cut. 007

This was pretty much what we did throughout the whole day, apart from two attempts at writing articles. I’m not sure if I can say what they were about until the paper is printed tomorrow, but we were able to write an article, get some great feedback on how to write in The Sun’s style, and even see the article written for the same story that is being used. I found it really interesting how the style was all about being short and punchy, no superfluous language anywhere. I suppose this could be why The Sun is so popular – it’s accessible to everyone and you don’t need to be an expert in anything to understand certain articles.

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Bekki and I took a quick lunch break to a great place called Chopstix – not only was the food good, but it was really cheap too which really helps with saving money for the rest of the week. 

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Back again to work, we had another attempt at writing an article before going back to searching for interesting stories. We found articles about teddy bear cameras, sheep on a motorway, cardboard sculptures, and grannies that were under 40 but, alas, everything we found was either already covered or a few days too old. 

We just about managed to escape the rain, but Bekki almost had a heart attack when a bus blew its horn – who would have thought she lived in London?! Back at the hotel, we ordered some extra pillows hoping that tomorrow we’ll wake up with our necks far happier. We also tried to sort out the hairdryer issue, only to have a very flirty maintenance man from Greece appear and ended up settling down in our tiny room for a chat. It took several very subtle hints before he finally left and he winked six times in total in ten minutes – yes, we counted. 011

After deciding we were going to have a pub dinner tonight, we found a pub called Yates which had 2 main courses for £8.95. YES you read that right – for the both of us. Being a student in Manchester must be so easy!

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So that’s it for today as we’re settling in for a movie night – thank goodness    for Film4 – and here’s hoping to a another great day tomorrow. Eleanor, out.      

 

Day 1 in Manchester

I’m lucky enough to have the chance to have a week of work experience at The Sun in Manchester, so I thought what better place to talk all about it than on my blog, 

Of course the day we choose to come up to Manchester from London Victoria Coach Station just has to be the same day as the big bike race, not to mention the disgusting English weather. My Dad’s original plan to drive me straight to the Coach Station was ruined when we met ‘Road Closed’ signs and a policeman told us ‘There’s no way you’ll get there in a car’. Still not defeated, we ended up near Bond Street underground station and off Dad drove as he couldn’t find free parking. 

So I trudged down the streets of London towards the station, chanting ‘Jubilee to Green Park, Victoria to Victoria’ whilst my shoes filled with rain. This plan soon failed however, when I realised that the Jubilee line at Bond Street was closed. 

Not to be put down for long, I changed plans to get the Central line to Oxford Circus and then the Victoria line, dragging my bags behind me as my shoulders screamed in agony. Up some stairs, some more stairs and, oh, let’s just have another flight of stairs to lengthen the pain, shoes squelching all the way. 

I finally met up with my great friend, and accomplice of the week, Bekki, and we headed to the coach station together. I do feel sorry for the guys that asked us for directions, only for us to say ‘We’re just following the arrows on the signs’. And then when we finally find the Coach station, it was so wonderful we almost cried. Never has a coach station in rainy London weather ever looked so beautiful. 

After picking up some lunch, we headed towards our gate and queued up, only to have people shove past us. We ended up standing in the pouring rain completely soaked to the skin, last on the coach with all of our belongings drenched. Better yet, most of the people decided that they needed two seats for just one person, which meant that we couldn’t sit together. Better yet, Bekki sat next to a lovely lady who just wanted to show pictures of her holiday and her grandchildren, whilst I sat next to a silent woman who snored and kicked me more than a few times. I mean, come on, I’m soaked by the rain, I’m tired, I’m in pain, and you couldn’t have moved next to someone else? Even after I said please?

So after five hours, we arrive in soggy Manchester and finally some luck is on our side as the hotel is right around the corner from the Coach station. We check in successfully, briefly tour our small room, then head out again for a Subway – as you do. 

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After practicing our Manchester accents – which sound too close to Liverpool accents to be any good – we find that Chinatown is right around the corner from our hotel. I attempted to blend in by wondering around the Chinese Supermarket, but Bekki gave us away by poking at the live crabs and squealing, so we got out of town quickly. We really didn’t belong there, after all. I was waiting for people to shout ‘Get out of our town’ as we kept saying ‘Ooo look Mooncakes! Ooo look Chinese tea…OOO LOOK DIM SUM’.

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We wondered through the area, finding several betting shops, buffet places, costa, and a tesco before heading back to the hotel. Resembling drowned rats, we scurried through the area where people were dressed up for dinner and headed back to our room. Already I’ve almost walked in on Bekki naked, so we’re off to a good start.

And there you have it, our first day in Manchester. Work Experience starts at 10 tomorrow morning, so we’re going to get some sleep and mentally prepare ourselves. We’re already coming up with some good phrases to say to apologise for our skills. 

swoonreads:

"Don’t be afraid to write crap because crap makes great fertilizer." ~ Jessica Brody

Anyway, I’ll check in tomorrow after our first day – hopefully the weather will cheer up a bit.  022