There’s been a lot of ribbing. “Oh you won’t be wanting to talk to likes of us anymore”, “you’ll be on Newsnight next“ and one friend even quoted Father Jack “What’s that little gobsh*t* doing on the telly?”
I find it all a bit weird. I’m not interested in celebrity and I’m not doing it to become famous. I suppose it started with putting my picture on blog posts. I do that because I believe in accountability and I encourage all our writers to use a portrait photo as their avatar. I think if you’re prepared to write and publish a report or a comment, you should be clear about who you are.
I was a bit taken aback at first when I approached people for the first time and they said “Oh I know who you are, I see your face every morning on the email”, but I’m getting used to it now. I agreed to join a panel discussion on MADE in Leeds on the basis that no one would see it. Then I heard their viewing figures are over 400,000 per month, whoops.
The process is interesting. I won’t give away all the secrets of the media world, but as we’re lower down the food chain we don’t get a lot of notice that they want us on. I usually know in advance what we will be talking about, but the last one I did, I found out the six subjects I was expected to have an opinion on just before the guy in the control room pressed ‘record’.
If you’re going to be broadcast, then you want people to know about it, so you have to publicise the fact. Hence the tweets in advance and the links to listen again. I’m not bothered if people know that I’m on the radio, but I do want them to know South Leeds Life is on the radio.
It’s a measure of our success that South Leeds Life is now part of the local media scene in Leeds, so we get invited on to these programmes. I go because it’s an opportunity to spread the word about our website and newspaper. It’s also important to support other local media community television and local radio are in the same camp of local reporting as we are.
I don’t get paid for any of these appearances and as I don’t enjoy the celebrity (such as it is) I don’t think I’m getting corrupted by the experience. I’m not big headed enough to think that I’m ‘primetime’, or that they can’t get enough of me. I understand that I’m cheap and available, especially when someone cancels at short notice. But I hope that I get asked back because I’m saying something interesting.
So as long they keep asking me back, I’ll keep taking the opportunity to plug this blog.
I’ll be back next week with more of my views from South of the River. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow me: @BeestonJeremy.