Mike Keown urges voters not to make mistakes

by Mike Keown We’re not the type of journalists who are used to talking our age – think of Thaksin Shinawatra and Bo Xilai or Kim Jong Il and Pak Il-sung – but I’m…

Mike Keown urges voters not to make mistakes

by Mike Keown

We’re not the type of journalists who are used to talking our age – think of Thaksin Shinawatra and Bo Xilai or Kim Jong Il and Pak Il-sung – but I’m pretty sure ageism is on the wane in this country now. And it is probably not getting less prevalent as we approach our 50s. Talk of “living well for the buck” and “power to the people” is all the rage at the moment, and the forthcoming general election (10 May) is still likely to be the talk of the town. Even if you’re in your mid-50s you’re likely to be asked what the others are doing. So here I am. I’m going to challenge the generations that put me off. I’m going to live well for nothing. My newsagent in Sheffield is celebrating because I’m leaving the business. I think she must be overjoyed because of how much hassle I have caused her! Look, I am probably 31 or 33 years old. But I will not turn any tricks. I will get up, take a shower, brush my teeth, feed my dog and use a dishwasher. I’ll keep my own clothes on. I will not mess about with strangers and I will not have anything to do with drugs. In short, I’ll be considered a decent man or woman. No selfish opinions and no sexist ideas. There is an urgent need for people like me to get into journalism again. Local newspapers in London and Manchester are often shut down. In several towns we have newspapers that have fallen silent. We have our weekly paper in the north, an evening paper in Sheffield, and I’m also a freelancer for BBC Radio 5 Live. There are a few regulars left, like my newspapers editor and my local man. In a perfect world they will all turn up. I may be tired of newspapers but the newspaper industry will be too if it falls apart and gives way to digital media. For that reason the local press is important. But it’s not the only game in town. Any educated person of a certain age now looks at what’s happening in the world and decides what’s important. That decision is made by watching or listening to the news. There will always be newspapers to present and write about and there will always be even older people in relationships. We just have to take a good hard look at what we are doing with our lives. I hope that this plays a part in the elections this year. But as for the newsrooms of the future, those days are gone. People are too busy to come into the newsroom. They would rather sit down on a warm day and enjoy a cup of tea. The news will be there, but we may not have much choice. Do we enjoy being in newsrooms, or are they too stuffy, claustrophobic and sterile for us? Is it worth sacrificing our friendships and lives for this? And what about teaching? There is still a strong reason to go into journalism. There are so many people out there who don’t know what the future holds. We can help them. I hope we give them something to aspire to. So please vote for change this election. I’m going to vote with my heart, too, because change would mean a new future for me. I’ll be there then. I’m even reading two copies of the Yorkshire Post, in case the old ones disintegrate before we get around to reading them.

Bookmark with: Delicious

Digg

reddit

Facebook

StumbleUpon What are these? E-mail this to a friend Printable version

Leave a Comment