JOURNALISTS ON THE MOVE
Jeff Jarvis is puzzled by Peter Barron's move from Newsnight. Not so much because he's joining Google but because he's going in on the PR side.
I don't know Barron at all, though I am a Newsnight fan but, speclating wildly, I suspect money plays some part in it all. Google are pretty good payers and the Beeb, on the whole, are not. Google also feels like a cool company to work for, whereas the BBC can be staid and bureaucratic.
Coincidentally, I've recently conversations with a couple of my print journalist friends, both of whom confided their plans to move out of journalism sooner rather than later. Both of them have very good jobs on two of the country's top papers but are alienated by a combination of the long hours, uncertainty over the future of papers, belt-tightening that leads to falling standards (one told me that the paper - still a highly sucessful one - rarely sends reporters on foreign assignments these days), job insecurity. It's been interesting to see some of these concerns reflected back in the new series of The Wire, which features plots set in the offices of a Baltimore newspaper, involving the kinds of corner-cutting and compromise that will be familiar to many British journalists.
I don't know if any of these considerations apply to Peter Barron but I know a lot of journalists to whom they do. It's unnecessarily melodramatic to talk about a malaise in British journalism but life on newspapers at least, is fast losing its appeal for many.