Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Which Newspaper helps you understand chocolategate?

Do you read a newspaper? It was quite a straightforward question at my ministry selection conference in 1979. One of the lay interviewers (the retired British Ambassador to Canada) asked it. I gave a true answer, which at that stage was the Daily Mail. That had been the paper I grew up with and, at the tender age of 24, I had never bothered to change. On Sundays my Dad had bought three papers - the Express, Times and Mirror and he spent Sunday mornings smoking and reading. I read the sports pages. Some of the guys I worked with bought the Sun or Mirror and I felt happily superior to them. The Times was for management.

Oh how things have changed. Politically and culturally I woke up. After ordination I changed to The Times, then The Independent shortly after its launch. In the mid 90s I became a Guardian reader but struggled to keep up given the amount of online material also coming my way. I embraced the iPaper and still do but tend to buy a Saturday Guardian or Sunday Observer. On Gozo for two weeks a year I read the Telegraph as the others take too long to arrive or sell out early. 

But to return to that selection conference question. Yes I read the iPaper and weekly Guardian but almost never on the day of publication, which, at minimum, gives me a good handle on their ability to prophesy. For daily news there is the BBC news app, a C of E media feed, a daily edigest and of course my Twitter feed with several news sites followed.

One of the skills required today is the ability to edit your input stream. For satisfactory balance you must not allow it to consist entirely of people with whom you agree.

But sometimes the entire stream goes bonkers, such as today when the whole of the UK internet seems to be discussing whether the National Trust had edited Easter out of chocolate and whether that mattered much. The Archbishop of York seems to have got it wrong, the C of E comms people have had to issue clarifying comments, the Prime Minister has got involved (which shows how trivial it is for she never has an immediate comment to make on serious issues) and Peter Ormerod, usually a beacon of sanity in a daft world, has managed to upset almost everybody by being right.

Watch and learn my friends. Watch and learn. And if being interviewed for the ordained ministry pitch your answer to the media question at a level the interviewer will understand. So sit by them at breakfast if you can.

Tomorrow. Is selling nails on Good Friday blasphemous?

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