GOOD news, you can now trust a journalist as far as you can throw him.
Admittedly, that’s not far, but according to the latest Mori Trust Poll it’s a little further than you can chuck a politician.
The Mori Trust Poll, as the title suggests, measures the trustworthiness of the UK’s various professions and, after many years of finishing bottom of the league, journalists have now reached the dizzy heights of, erm, second bottom.
We leave the politicians with the wooden spoon and are currently arm-wrestling with bankers for that coveted third-from-bottom slot.
If we can convince you we’re as honest as estate agents we’ll be out of the relegation zone by Christmas (surely a formality, isn’t it?).
Squeaky-clean doctors, with their affable bedside manner, are currently top of the league in the eyes of the public.
Typical of you lot … you’re happy to devour our stories about Freddie Starr eating hamsters or to pore over the latest backside escapade of Miley Cyrus, but someone prescribes you a bottle of snot medicine and you treat them like a god. Shameless you are.
I mention this because there are occasions when I’m let loose from the newspaper office and sent out among the public to talk about our noble profession. In your eyes, that noble profession being purveyor of lies.
It’s how I’m introduced. “Ladies and gentleman, please be upstanding for the city’s foremost purveyor of lies and self-styled master of untruths Richard ‘Mr Fibs’ Ord …”
My current world tour saw me at Cleadon Village Church of England Primary School’s careers fair and Seaham’s Christchurch Ladies circle this month.
The latter, I’d been warned, were a tough crowd. The Glasgow Empire of church groups and knitting circles, they said.
I must have caught them on a good night. “You know when they like you,” I was told, “because they let you out alive.”
Cleadon Village Primary School’s careers fair was a whole different ball game.
A child’s face can say it all ... particularly the mouth part of the face.
One youngster told me: “There are more children can operate an iPad than can write their own name.”
Time stopped. I stared him out. I could hear them all breathing. Hearts beating. And. The kid blinked first. It had been a close call. Honestly, the second you show fear, they’re onto you.
The careers fair was a roaring success. I regaled the youngsters with tales of a life in journalism before disappearing into the night... well, into the early afternoon. About quarter past 12.
This week I received a letter from the school. It was from three of the youngsters, Leya, Lauren and Archie, and it made my day. This is what they said: “Thank you for giving up you time to talk to us about you intriguing career in journalism.
“We are exceedingly grateful that you have motivated us to take up the next generation of your fascinating career. You must be delighted to be inspiring, not just children, but everyone!
“We are all in total agreement, citing that journalism must be a great, exciting career, full of adventure and thrill.
“Your inspirational discussion allowed us to discover the true meaning and hardship of your superb, extraordinary and distinguished profession.
“We can’t imagine the exhilaration you must feel travelling around the world. We especially found your explanation of travels to dangerous war zones deeply interesting and stimulating.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better explanation of the sensational career that is journalism.”
A beautiful letter, but one that couldn’t help but get me thinking that I may have over-sold my day-to-day job.
Either that, or these youngsters have a natural flair for sensationalism and exaggeration.
If so, then the future of journalism is in safe hands … and our position, at the foot of the Truth League, secure for some time to come.
l Richard Ord is available for kids parties, birthdays and bar mitzvahs. Usual rates apply (a cup of tea and a biscuit). His typical rider is five bottles of Evian water, a bowl of peeled grapes and an armadillo (spayed).