Saturday, July 08, 2017

Return from a long hiatus

Any regular readers of this blog may well have noticed a lack of posts these last few months. There are a wide variety of reasons but one primary reason is to do with time.

Anyone who creates any online content will know that it takes time and thought. An article that takes just 5 minutes to read may take 30 minutes to writes, longer if there is a great deal of research behind it. YouTube videos can take even longer especially if one employs profession production methods.

But what's the reward? For some it's purely a thing of passion or interest. Even if no-one reads or views the online video or article, it was merely the creation that was important to the creator. For others it is the kudos; the thrill that someone has even taken time to read or watch one's creation. And there are of course some that create content to make money, although one has to get a lot of hits to get any significant return.

But whether a hobby, passion or financial venture, it still comes down to time. And that has been the primary issue resulting in the lack of posts on this platform. One has to juggle work, family and leisure time and somehow find space and time to write and create a blog post. And it all becomes even more complicated when one throws international travel into the equation. A reduced passion, it has to be said, has also played a part. Even for a news junky everyday events can become just too depressing after a while, especially if it's one's own country that's in the firing line.

Britain has seen one terror attack after another in recent months [Westminster Bridge, Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Finsbury Park Mosque], and a devastating fire at Grenfell Tower which left dozens dead and many families displaced. The UK is now being led by a weakened Tory government following a disastrous election which has created further uncertainties in Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement due to deals made with the DUP. And all this against the backdrop of Brexit. Whether one is pro or anti Brexit no-one can surely deny the uncertainty and division created by the EU referendum.

Burnout is a real challenge for a lot of journalists who cover death on a regular basis. Many war reporters come home with similar post traumatic stress symptoms to soldiers. But what is often overlooked is the effects on those who write on the less extreme, but nonetheless equally depressing reports that journalists have to cover.

As a photojournalist I have seen, photographed and reported on countless serious road traffic accidents, fatal fires, riots, terror incidents and the aftermath as well as funerals and memorials. There are the less dramatic stories which can be just as heart-rending, be it a cancer sufferer doing a fun run or victims of surgery or crime.

Good employers will make counsellors available for reporters who have been involved covering tragedies, war zones or too much death in general, but just as with soldiers, many journalists don't want to admit they need help. For some that help is not even offered since many people involved in news gathering are freelance.

Many journalists try to disconnect and leave it at work. But this can be hard to do. You try to appreciate your friends and family more. You try to make time for positive stories. But ultimately, a lot of people move on to other beats or leave the industry altogether.

So there are are a lot of reasons for the hiatus. But one has definitely not quite hung up one's boots and camera yet. But sometimes one needs a rest from it all. And family and work have to come first. That said, efforts may well be made to post more content in the coming months, although it is difficult to pick up the baton and run with it after such a large gap.

tvnewswatch, London

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