For this month's day in the life of, Label Culture are glad to introduce Rob Hastings: freelance writer and editor for the Independent and I newspapers.
Clambering into the cockpit of a crane at the summit of the Shard, interviewing the head of Interpol, flying out to Warsaw to watch some ‘beardy-wierdies’ play in the World Scrabble Championships – tasks like these mean reporting for a national newspaper is rarely a dull job. It would not only be clichéd to say that no two days are the same in journalism but also largely untrue; it's not always glamorous, and plenty of my time is spent sitting at a desk staring at a screen writing a story I think isn't worthwhile but for some reason my editors love. But even on the dullest days, I'm glad I'm not an accountant like my best mate, no matter how much more he gets paid than me.
I went into journalism partly because I love writing, but also because I love finding out new things – and it's that sense of curiosity about the world and the people around us that is probably most important for a reporter. For that reason, most mornings start with a hunt for stories: Brainstorming lists of people to try and interview and searching the Internet for little stories that can quickly be turned into big ones. Research, imagination and ambition are key – I always think it's good to be bold, as it doesn't matter if you try to get an interview with Sean Connery (as I attempted) and it doesn't happen (it didn't). But if he agrees, then great!
Once I've found an idea, I write a pitch to my editors trying to convince them why they should pay me to write it – being employed as a freelancer, I work on commission. When they give the go-ahead, the thrill of the chase for a big story can be stressful but also exhilarating, particularly if you know it's going to be on the front cover the next day, for thousands of people to read in their newspapers and on the internet. Deadlines are never more than a few hours away, unless it's a long-term investigation – those, like one I did into private investigators, can bubble away for weeks.
A lot of news stories like an election or a riot just happen and we report on them. Yet other stories wouldn't exist without journalists beavering away to uncover shocking or surprising facts, hopefully for the benefit of us all. We're not all phone hackers, I promise.
Five Fast Favourites
– Favourite Article to write: My front-page Independent splash on CCTV
– Favourite Journalist: George Orwell
– Favourite Song: Wake Up by Arcade Fire
– Favourite Food: Hawaiian pizza
– Favourite Feeling: Spurs beating Arsenal
For more information about Rob, check out his personal website by clicking here.