Mark Lukas, Newsworks’ Creative Designer, discusses why journalism is important to him.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have grown up at a time where I got to watch the digital revolution really come into full swing. I still remember the exact sequence of noises the AOL modem would make when it dialled-up. I remember impatiently having to wait for my mum to get off the phone before I could go on MSN and talk to my friends. I remember toying with an iPhone for the very first time, not quite grasping exactly how much the device I was holding in my hand was going to change the world, and how it would play a part in revolutionising the way we interact and greatly change the way that we consumed and learned about the world around us.
Before that, I remember newspapers. More specifically, I remember delivering them. As a somewhat (ok…very) nerdy, bespectacled teen on a mountain bike, puffing my way uphill through my Kentish hometown on quiet weekend mornings, I would often let my imagination run adrift to keep my mind occupied. I always had the same delivery route, so I would deliver the same newspapers to the same houses every weekend. I quickly became familiar with these houses, despite having never met any of the occupants.
I found myself beginning to create mental images for these faceless individuals based on the things I saw. The style of the house, the type of car parked out front and the title of the papers they ordered. I remember imagining what the family might be like living in the ivy-covered semi-detached with an Audi parked out front who read the Observer and the Times. Or who I thought might be an elderly couple living in the cottage at the entrance to a cul-de-sac with the cherry blossom tree in the front garden who enjoyed the Sunday Express and The Mirror. Imagining what occupations these people had or what sort of breakfast they liked to eat whilst they read up on current events. Which crossword they preferred to do whilst someone else read the supplements.
Aside from an overactive imagination, I guess what you can glean from this is that the news brand(s) you choose to read are in a way, a reflection of who you are, how you see yourself and how you are seen. You can define yourself as a person by the type of content you choose to consume and, as such, news brands are a huge part of that.
When I joined Newsworks almost four years ago I thought the news was just, well… the news. I didn’t realise just how much goes into journalism. Sure, we’ve all seen movies about journalists working through the night to chase a lead, arguing with their editor to get to the truth and it’s easy to take that for granted. But when you realise just how hard the thousands of journalists, critics, editors, creatives, and other workers that make up the UK news industry work to bring trustworthy, accountable journalism to the British public, it really hits home how lucky we all are to have this. Every single day we have access to astonishing amounts of quality, well-researched journalism, provided from varied and all-encompassing viewpoints. There aren’t many other countries in the world that can boast such a thing. In fact, I don’t think there are any that have such a diverse and accountable range of news brands on offer as us. What a terrifically privileged position we find ourselves in.
One of the highlights of my day is being able to sift through all of the titles every morning, looking for interesting stories and information on current events. I’m lucky enough to be able to use this time to learn about what’s happening in society and the world, how things affect me and equally as importantly, how things affect others. I can use what I learn to help make decisions in my everyday life, contribute in conversations and discussions I take part in, decide what products I choose to buy and which parties I choose to vote for. Such is the wealth of content that news brands provide, you can use them to inform and improve nearly aspect of your life, from health, to politics, to sport, to education, jobs and even dating.
In these tumultuous times, with politics, war, climate change and viral pandemics shaping the world we live in every day, I can always rely on news brands to provide me with views from almost all sides on any subject, to help me form balanced, discerning opinions on the way this world works (or sometimes doesn’t). Journalism helps me to define the kind of person I want to be and how I fit into society.
That’s why journalism matters to me.