Many of you will have read the story of the 42 year-old teacher Charlotte Berry who used twitter. On twitter she would have conversations with people. Y’know like many of us do. In these conversations she was known to (om my god) use swear words and talk about being a slut and blow jobs. Why will somebody not think of the children?
Well somebody did. No wait. Somebody saw a story that would make headlines and give himself a boner. That man was journalist Sam Smith of the local rag. He describes himself as a journalist who has worked in different guises since leaving university three years ago, ‘I am currently employed on the Brentwood Gazette – an award winning weekly publication in Essex – and have previously worked at BBC Sussex and Surrey and have had stints at The Sunday Times and Guardian.’ He is billy big balls but yet none of those top publications or broadcast outlets were actually keen on hiring him. Sop what in effect he’s done is had work experience at these places. Ahh. That’s nice for him.
Anyway I digress. It was this man who spied the story and knew it was a ticket to fame and fortune. Well a ticket to having the story picked up in the nationals anyway and sure enough bang the story was all over the place including the Daily Mail which gave it the well rounded, well thought out, reasonable approach. Oh wait. No it didn’t. It basically made out the teacher to be a monster who doesn’t deserve to be within 100 miles of any children.
Look I have no idea whether Miss (or Mrs) Berry is a good teacher or not. However talking to people on twitter and using foul language is not going to sway my mind on the matter. All posting with foul language or talking about sex were messages sent to others so wouldn’t show up in her public timeline unless you were following both people and/or looked on her actual twitter site and not her twitter feed. At worse it was naive of the teacher but the hounds are out.
I read a fantastic piece by ‘scruffymatt’ entitled How To Ruin Someone’s Life For No Good Reason and it really is a great read. I implore you all to have a read of it. It shows actually that the local rag had been running stories about her for a while – but all positive – about how great a teacher she was and all the things she did outside of the classroom for her students. Sounds like the type of teacher I’d want my (hypothetical) kids to have. Someone who cared.
I couldn’t give two hoots about what a teacher says on twitter or Facebook but sadly there are many who do. They think a teacher should not have sex and think about the kids all day long, every day and are not allowed a normal life.
Having lived with teachers in the past I know how much they worry about these types of things. I recall once going to the supermarket with two of my house mates (one of whom was a teacher) and a group of her kids saw her on the way back and it turned into quite a big deal. These kids asked about who I was (and the other house mate) to her the next time they saw her in school. Teachers actually have a very difficult time separating their work life and their private lives.
However above all what I truly hated about this story was the following screenshot of the author tweeting the teacher asking her if she’d read the story. It is like saying ‘Hey I fucked you up big time and possibly ruined your career on a whim that I had. Aren’t I big and powerful and aren’t you small and insignificant?’
No Mr Journalist. It just makes you out to be a (the bad word – the four letter one). Nice way to make a mountain out of a molehill and pillory a teacher for y’know – having a life outside of work. You could make it big in the world of the low-brow press with that attitude. When an editor yells ‘Who can make a story out of nothing?’ the newsroom with all look at you – Sam Smith – for guidance about how you can be the man who’ll write crap as long as it makes good copy and whips up a storm.
I still can’t get over that tweet taunting the teacher. What a c word.
Lastly he’s a Saints fan as well. I suppose it all adds up now.
Note: It has been pointed out to me by a proper journalist and not a layabout bum of a hack like me that the tweet to which saw my rage and oitching keyboard bashing finger was dated 12th October and was in fact in relation to another news story written by the said newspaper to which they were praising Miss Berry (or is it Mrs? – I’m so lazy I haven’t checked). So on this part of the blog post my apologies. I still think the piece was garbage but the gloating allegation fails the Factcheck when people actually look into it and don’t fly off the handle.
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