Take your time, it’s only a deadline…

It’s taken long enough, but we’ve finally got ourselves a new DEFRA secretary. Caroline Spelman was announced as the department’s head honcho at about 7pm last night.

If I were paranoid, I’d say the politicians were timing their announcements just to wind us journos up. Gordy decided to tell everyone he was stepping down at 5pm (probably just as most of the national newspapers were getting ready to set their pages), while we were on our third version of the lead story for this week’s Farmers Weekly, ready to push the button to send the magazine to the printer, when Cazza got the official nod.

It was an interesting day, if not incredibly frustrating. We had all expected Nick Herbert to get the top DEFRA job, or Tim Farron if the Lib Dems decided that was one of the six ministerial posts they wanted.

Then at about 3pm we starting hearing rumours from contacts at Westminster that Spelman was going to take the helm. Cue a rewritten story so we had something ready in case that was announced. It got to 6pm and we still hadn’t had anything confirmed – there were hundreds of Tweets about it, but when I traced them back they had come from my initial speculative Tweet three hours earlier.

With minutes to go before our deadline, we decided to hedge our bets and run with a story that didn’t confirm Spelman as DEFRA boss. Of course, that was the point the job got announced.

There are aspects of print journalism which I prefer to the online kind, but the panic of print deadlines when you’re waiting for the news to happen is something which quickly goes from fun to scary. Print news quickly dates, but it would’ve been incredibly demoralising if the news had been totally outdated before the copies of FW had even been put in the post.

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1 Response to “Take your time, it’s only a deadline…”


  1. One Man and His Blog

    Less News, More Reporting…

    Farmers Weekly colleague Caroline on the sheer rudeness of the coalition government:It’s taken long enough, but we’ve finally got ourselves a new DEFRA secretary. Caroline Spelman was announced as the department’s head honcho at about 7pm …