The other morning, we were watching an old episode of Postman Pat (as we do over breakfast chez Newton). When the day’s post didn’t turn up, the titular postie found himself at a loose end and decided he needed to get himself a hobby. He tried dancing, football, even icing cakes (what a trendsetter). But none of them suited, and he was most relieved when the post finally turned up, because Pat had realised that delivering the post was what he enjoyed most in the world. My own job is a bit like that. I went into journalism because I loved writing. I still do, although the tools of my trade are more likely to be a computer screen and keyboard these days. This probably explains why I find it hard to switch off after hours – while I sympathised with postman Pat, I couldn’t help but feel that our work/life balance was a bit out of kilter, and we both needed some outside interests.
Talking of the post, the February issue of Cornwall Today should have landed on a doormat or shelf near you by now. The cover looks rather different, don’t you think? Kernow King, eyebrow raised, peering from behind a proper Cornish pasty. I hope you like it – let us know what you think. The King is our new monthly columnist, and there’s also plenty of talk about pasties, in anticipation of the World Pasty Championships at the Eden Project. I also went to Boscundle Manor in St Austell to oversee a fashion shoot, which was as glamorous as it sounds, and enormous fun – the picture you can see here is of the bedroom picnic the kitchen supplies should you be minded to eat strawberries and cream in your pyjamas. Who wouldn’t be tempted?
On a more serious note, there were many news stories of note while we were working on this issue. When I first heard about the attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, I felt a wave of empathy for my fellow journalists. The idea that these men could have been gunned down in an editorial meeting of the kind I know only too well was horrific. The subject matter of our publications couldn’t be more different – while the world debated whether Charlie Hebdo was right or wrong to publish an image of the Prophet in response to the attacks, I was discussing the emotive issue of side versus top crimping with a local pastymaker. And yet, we shared a passion for communicating with others by means of print.
It was heartening in the aftermath to see the magazine up its print run nearly 100 fold. Copies were flying off the shelves across France. I like to think that this is because in spite of the increasing dominance of digital, people still like the permanence of print. It’s something you can keep to remind yourself of where you were when significant events took place, be they births, deaths or marriages. I still have my 1997 newspapers from the day Tony Blair came to power – it was an unknown territory for those of us too young to remember anything other than Conservative rule. It all brings me back to why I went into print, rather than broadcast journalism, in the first place. To communicate through writing. To move, to entertain, to tell stories that will endure. While the world wide web will always have its place, print is far from dead. As people keep telling me, Cornwall Today never dies – it’s simply in a waiting room, somewhere near you.