Journalists are human too | Matt Mohan-Hickson

The keyboard is quite the invention isn’t it?A simple everyday item, it holds the power to transform any normal person into a ferocious 21st century warrior ready to ride into battle.

Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 7:31 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 7:31 am
WARRIOR: Think before you add your comments... there's a human on the other end

Sure these fights are now pitched in the comment sections of your local newspaper’s Facebook page instead of in trenches or fields, but they are battles nonetheless.

With your trusty keyboard you can lead the charge against ‘fake news’ or you can follow your friends over the top as they carry the banner of ‘slow news day is it?’

Because when you are waging war with your keyboard it might feel that it isn’t real and you aren’t hurting anyone.

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Yet every time you type ‘fake news’ under a story you don’t like or agree with, try to remember that your words will be read by a human being.

Before the pandemic hit and turned the world inside out, I would watch as my colleagues scrolled through our comments section and get visibly upset.

When you get into journalism you know what to expect.

You are held in the same esteem as an investment banker or a politician.

But until you sit in a newsroom and have to face an angry phone call or read the comments on Facebook, you don’t realise the toll it will take on you.

Especially when the insults are based on things over which we have no say, such as our owners deciding to introduce a paywall or how our website has been built.

Have you ever had to stand on a can to crush it so it will fit in the recycling bin? This is what it feels like reading the comment section.

This is a hard time for all of us. We are confined to our homes and likely incredibly bored. It is a grim time for the nation’s collective mental health.

I will throw my hands up and say that we make mistakes. But how many of you can say that you have never made a spelling mistake?

So let’s call a truce okay? Until the lockdown is done and dusted, the next time you think about typing ‘fake news’ take a few seconds to pause and remember that you are talking to a human.

Trying to be productive in a lockdown is near impossible

If I’m honest I thought I would cope easily with lockdown. I figured it would be the perfect time to do all the things I’ve wanted to do but never got round to finding time for.

Learning a new language, eating healthy breakfasts and finally getting round to the TV shows I meant to watch.

Yet being trapped indoors is turning out to be far more of a grind than expected. I feel more tired than when I had to get up early for work. There is only so much time you can sit around and watch Netflix before becoming restless.

But I can’t find the energy to bother to try to learn a foreign tongue, despite not having to commute to and from an office. Guess it is time to start Brooklyn 99 all over again.

Let’s pray the weather stays like this once we are free

Every day since working from home, I sit at my desk after breakfast, look out of the window and see yet more glorious weather. I can’t remember the last time we had such a run of sunny days. Was it last summer?

I can’t escape the feeling we are being taunted by the weather. How typical that when we were blessed with freedom it felt like it was raining non-stop. Now we’re trapped at home, it is perfect beach weather. Would it be worse if the weather was awful? I’m not sure. If lockdown had happened in midwinter it would have been easier to stay indoors.

Fingers crossed this weather continues once we’re free again, but this being Britain I’m sure it will pour.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​