A friends a Sunday or so ago when the eldest child, a girl of firti:i;n, fired one of those unexpected remarks at me which make adults do some quick thinking if they are not going to lose face. " I've decided," she said, " what I am going to he when I grow up. I'm going to be a journalist like you. Or are you a reporter? What's the difference between a journdist and a reporter? " 1 called in Edgar Walt= to help me, remembering a play of his I had seen years ago in which a man was asked: " What are you—a journalist dr a reporter? " The reply was: " I used to he a journalist until I got a regular job, Now I'm a
• reporter I " Everyone was surprised as they had considered that a wes a much grander person than a reporter.
Next came the question : How can I become It reporter, then. How do I. set about it? And, as lots and lots of young people are always asking nte and other newspaper people the same question'here is the advice I gave. If you're really keen, you cart do one of two things. You can go along in a year or two to the Editor .of your local paper (suburban. or provincial—it depends on where you live) and ask him humbly and with much earnestness if he will take you on as a learner. It won't take you long to find out if you're any good and it won't take the Editor long either. You'll have to do all the paper's donkey work, toll up your sleeves, be at everyone's beck and call and from the word go you'll have to prove that you have that indefinable something that will eventually be hammered into what is known as a reporter. And remember, for every hundred boys and girls who set out Ott this career, ninety-nine don't make the grade Not because they can't write good English but because they can't be objective. You've to leave youe ego outside the office door and you'll be surprised how often you forget to pick it up tie you go out. Yes. Working for a newspaper is largely living other people's lives. And as for writing books, someone has said that journalism is the graveyard of English literature because most of the books that newspaper people intend to write are still-born. Their would-be authors
are all too much intrigued watching the world panorama and recording it.
There are other ways of becoming a newspaper reporter. One aspirant in ten thoueand might land at a hound on a national paper—especially if they have a father or an uncle who is one of the executives. But they will always lack the training in atxuracy, and the ability to tackle any kind of job, which a small paper can give. Stop most of the successful men and women in Fleet Street and ask them how they began and you'll find they started in the by-ways. On the other hand, some people wait until they have graduated at a university but they will have also been studying the theory of their intended profession and will have been taking intensive courses in jouralism. At one time some provincial papers used to charge a large fee for training pupils. One girl I knew was charged £100 and during the three years she was being trained she did a great deal of work of quite professional standard. Weill, I hope this information has helped to clear the air a bit and disillusion those who think that " writing for the papers " is such an easy job whieh anyone could do,
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MEdith Oliver prefaces her new book Foie Victorian Ladles of Wiltshire. with an interesting essay on Leisure. Victorian Leisure, she points out, was a by-product of Victorian Riches It was a family affair and Sunday was its high spot. Now. Miss Oliver says, people would regard those vietorian Sundays as infinitely boring. But, on the pates hand, Victorians, who knew well how to use their leisure. would laugh till their sides ached if they could hear officials and social busy-bodieS trying to tell people how to spend their-leisure. The Victorians I had lots of resource and led very full lives within the family circle. The fin-de-.siècle innovation now known as the week-end house-party changed all that.
In her four studies of Victorian ladies Miss Oliver shows us jest what complete persons became—all but one in her own home The ladies are Miss Annie Moberly, Mrs. Alfred Morrison, Miss Berbera Townsend and Mrs. Percy Wyndham (mother of the famous George). The hook costs 12s. 6d. and is published by Faber and Faber, Ltd.