Thursday 14 March
Journalism & Local History with Paul Holden
A talk on journalism, writing styles and local history from Paul Holden, the founder and editor of the Worthing Journal. Paul will take us through different techniques used in journalism, as well as his story working in various publications – before starting his own. He will also take us through some of the history of our local area and be available for questions and answers.
Paul Holden launched The Worthing Journal in 2011, after working for many years as chief reporter and news editor for The Evening Argus. He also edited The Worthing Sentinel for a decade. Paul moved to Worthing in 1983, joining the Worthing Gazette and Herald, after finishing a journalism course in London, and has written four books on Worthing and lives in Goring.
Review of the Meeting
Ian introduced Paul Holden who gave an interesting talk about life as a journalist in the last quarter of the twentieth century, and as a journalist and editor of the Worthing Journal in the twenty-first. A full account at the end of these minutes.
Paul Holden’s talk:
Paul began his career with a one year journalism course in Harlow, where he learned to write shorthand (very important for recording accurately in case his record was later questioned) and how to use a manual typewriter. Afterwards he was offered jobs in Chester and Worthing. He consulted an atlas and chose Worthing. Paul wrote for many years for the Argus, when the paper employed 40 reporters and produced six editions every day. He also worked shifts for national (London) papers, taking the night shift, 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. But when news of Fergie’s exploits with a lover broke and he had to phone people in the small hours of the morning, and ask for their comments, he decided to concentrate on news reporting on the South Coast. He spent ten years as newsroom editor of the Worthing Sentinel, an Argus offshoot.
In 2001, Paul realised that print journalism could no longer be the medium which was first to provide news of breaking events. He spoke of the dangers of believing what might be only rumour if people got their information from social media. He contrasted the uncorroborated accounts found there with those in newspapers. He told us of how much cross-checking he had done to verify stories when he was a reporter, before his work in turn was checked by a series of editors.
He left newspaper journalism to begin the Worthing Journal, a monthly, campaigning newspaper/magazine. Paul described some of the Journal’s successful campaigns, in particular those to improve the appearance of the seafront in Worthing, and to commemorate soldiers from WW1. The Journal organises community events like ‘guerrilla gardening’ and the citrus ‘flingathon’. The Journal contains many stories about Worthing’s history. Paul uses the newspaper archive held in Worthing library to research reports from as early as 1770.