These feet were made for walking

Looking back over the last 50 years I see 1971 as a turning point in my life.

Not just because I celebrated my 21st birthday (although by now 21 was no longer a magic number as in 1970 we were granted the right to vote at 18) or that I had ended my indentures and having passed my NCTJ exams was now a fully accredited senior reporter.

This was the year I stopped seeing Rhyl as the place where I would spend the rest of my life, marry, settle down and maybe, eventually, become editor of MY newspaper.

I was not so arrogant as to believe that overnight I had become a fully-fledged ace reporter just because I had passed an exam and completed a set number of years working for one company.

I still had a lot to learn and was glad that I had worked with so many excellent journalists over the previous six years.

The trouble is I wanted more.

Ever since journalism became a “respectable” career (it has now turned full circle and journalists have once more become pariahs) the main ambition of any journalist was seen to be reaching “Fleet Street”.

In my youth this was a physical place where national newspapers had their main offices and sent their reporters out to far flung corners of the country or the world to gather the news.

Reporters would become specialists: political reporters; crime reporters; royal reporters; fashion reporters etc. etc.

That was not my ambition.

I wanted to be a good, all round reporter and then work my way up to become a good sub and then a good editor.

For this I needed experience of a wider field than I would find in Rhyl.

I was covering more important stories now I had graduated but I missed the opportunity to watch the process once I had handed my copy in and it went off to the head office in Oswestry.

Looking back, and over 50 years some memories do become fuzzy, I began to feel that my stories should have become tighter but newspapers were still changing from being “papers of record” to being papers that offered an insight into every aspect of life.

Like many young reporters testing their mettle I did feel that my copy did not always get treated in the way it deserved.

There were times when I felt my copy was being hacked to fill a space and others when I felt that it had been allowed to run when I should have kept it tighter myself.

I needed to get out in the world and find new experiences and learn from new “teachers”.

My feet were getting itchy.

I just didn’t realise how far those restless feet would take me.

Published by Robin

I'm a retired journalist who still has stories to tell. This seems to be a good place to tell them.

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