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Monthly Archives: June 2008

When you buy a muffin from Tim Hortons, a blueberry muffin specifically, were ever disappointed by the number of blueberries in the muffins? So many it was too-blueberry or so few it was all cake? Were you ever mad that the one you were eating didn’t have the same number of blueberries in it that the previous one had?

Me neither.

Now how about when you picked up a newspaper: Were you ever upset that one story was longer than the other, that all the stories weren’t exactly the same length.

Me neither.

Now let me take you to a staff meeting from a few months ago.

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Early to work this morning and sitting at his desk, drinking coffee is a pale-skinned, red-headed colleague of mine who is a rarity: a journalism “lifer”.

In the business for 20-some-odd years, he’s worked at newsrooms across Canada, everyone of them, almost without exceptions, dysfunctional messes, he went on to tell me.
I’m not sure how much longer I can put up with THIS place, I told him.
He gave me a pep talk – something he has done for almost every journalist in this place. He’s that kind of guy.

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I’m invoking the P-word for this post. Patriarchy.

Because working in an office arranged around the father-knows-best and father-is-the-law ideology is as damaging for worker morale and for workplace productivity (the biz term for making sure lots of work gets done so the company can make lots of money and enough profit to keep you in a job).

And it is the kind of workplace in which I have landed.

I’m a creative, go-by-my-gut, everything-will-get-done-if-I-don’t-have-to-slow-down-for-bureaucratic-details, passionate, part-time contrarian. Which isn’t a good fit for this workplace.

Things I have recently been reprimanded for:

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I’m a business reporter. How I got here is another story for another blog; but here I am, reporting about business. It’s something I could make interesting if my editor would let me, but for some reason my editor feels that ‘interesting’ and ‘hard news story’ do not mix.

Anyway, the last two days, one of my fellow business reporters, a young man, in his early twenties, has appeared clean shaven and suited up. The reason? He’s attending two editorial board meetings (when big business people meet with a roomful of editors and reporters, get their picture taken saying important things and many stories are written about the appointment conversation, as if something actually took place).

The men he’s meeting with are wearing a suit and tie and so will he. Seems reasonable. Except I’m not certain that it is.

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