Casual work

My work at The Guardian is called ‘casual’. Because I don’t go there every day, or regularly. I am in the ‘Night Uploaders’ team.

We quickly proof-read the articles, which are already being printed, in case some mistake has slipped the attention of the sub-editors that are specifically employed for such mistake-spotting among other things, and then add some basic html coding and some relevant, pre-determined links. It is done every single night, and every single article published on paper is uploaded to the website, but for these stable jobs The Guardian employs casuals who can not stay employed for longer than ten months in a row to avoid having to contract us as regular employees. So in ten months time, I will need to find income somewhere else, with the option to come back after four months or so.

The Guardian

Very first day at The Guardian. Some kind of induction day.

A tall guy who seems that will be my supervisor spends too long explaining how the articles are classified, tagged and formatted, ready for uploading. I am also supposed to read them and pick up mistakes that may have slipped through the several layers of sub-editing. These are articles that have already been sent to the printers; any correction will only come up on the online version.

Kawawis III. The journalist

I receive a call saying that E., an Israeli activist who comes here regularly to get information about incidents that need to be reported, will be coming today for a visit. It will be a change I look forward to: I will finally have a conversation in English, after two days of speaking a word at a time and trying to make sense of people’s gestures.

Audio files

Not long ago, a friend explained to me the fact that, although technology nowadays allows to transfer my recorded two hours from my minidisk on to the computer in 20 seconds, the corporations that make such technology do not want to allow anyone to do this.


I can start and never stop. I have to choose yet another theme for my last article for my ‘journalism’ teacher. I had a list of possible subjects, but last Friday I could only remember the G8. He is great in distorting what people say, at least what I tell him – will it be this why he is a ‘good journalist’?


Apparently this quote, contrary to what I was told when it was included in the Financial Crimes, is genuine:

‘One night, probably in 1880, John Swinton, then the preeminent New York journalist, was the guest of honour at a banquet given him by the leaders of his craft. Someone who knew neither the press nor Swinton offered a toast to the independent press. Swinton outraged his colleagues by replying:

“There is no such thing, at this date of the world’s history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.

Mass Media

The main tutor at university today confirmed what Simone had mentioned in the forum: yes, there is the desire to put as many journalists in the market as possible. Just put them there, however good, however bad, the point is, there must be many.


Simone, on the freelance email forum, has just noted that freelancing is “harder now as there are more journalists about. There weren’t that many post-degree courses/evening classes eight years ago”.

What does this say about the “dumbing down” of journalism? What about the pressure on existing journalists to produce what the market demands/the owner allows?


Another day I miss Ben*’s lesson. And the facts that I find his lessons absolutely useless and that they happen at 9 in the morning are not exactly an encouragement to attend them in the future… I agree that 9 in the morning does not sound outrageously early. But taking into account that the three bus journey takes me about two hours, I look at a waking-up hour of half past six. For some mysterious reason, my body has managed to switch the alarm clock off without allowing me to wake up for the past two weeks. Wonders of nature.