In teh Grauniad

When I was about 15, our local paper ran a special schools edition. They approached English teachers around the city, asking them to contribute pieces written by local students, and my teacher picked an essay I’d written. The essay was about the pros and cons of staying at a school that teaches 11-18 year-olds for the final two years of high school compared to moving to a dedicated “sixth-form college” that only teaches 16-18 year-olds; this had been a hot topic at home, because I was at an 11-18 within walking distance and wanted to stay there, with all my friends and with teachers I knew, whereas my Dad taught at the sixth-form college across town and wanted me to transfer there, which would have meant him driving me there and back every day.

At first I thought that my article would be one of several that came from our school, and wouldn’t attract too much attention from the people who bullied me for being a swot and a teacher’s pet. BUT the editors of the paper chose to use MY PHOTO as the illustration of how a photograph is taken, developed, cropped, processed and published, and there were multiple versions of it (at various stages of processing) all over the front of the special schools edition.


I had to listen to the sneering jibes about that hideous photo for weeks!

A squirrel chewed through some wiring in the roof of the old wing of my school one night a few months later and two classrooms burned to the ground, taking all my English coursework with them. I’d written some stuff I was really proud of (e.g. a reworking of Macbeth in the style of Raymond Chandler) and wanted to get back after everything had been sent off for grading by external examiners and then returned to the school, but it was all lost for good (this was before we had our first computer, and all my work had been painstakingly written out in long-hand).

My Mum had the genius idea of calling the local paper asking them to send back the one surviving piece of coursework – the copy of the essay they’d published in their schools edition.

They re-published the essay AND the photo, with a short article attached that basically suggested that heroic Yorkshire Evening Press journalists had risked life and limb to rescue my essay from the still-burning building.

My friends from high school still remind me about this incident; they thought it was hilarious, obviously, even though I got yet more grief from the resident eejits about it.

Anyway, this was my one and only experience of being in the paper.

Today, a guest post I wrote about a new paper on chromosome damage in cancer was posted on GrrlScientist’s Guardian blog.

It’s not quite the Guardian proper (the paper I grew up reading – along with the Yorkshire Evening Press, of course), but hey, if it erases some of those bad memories, I’ll take it!



About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
This entry was posted in blog buddies, education, family, original research, personal, publishing, science, the media, UK. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to In teh Grauniad

  1. chall says:

    Sweet! I’m off to read!

    (as a side note< not sure I get it with the photo… you sent it in as a photo of you to go with your article? and they ran it as something else? ahh.. as a "tutorial" perhaps? I defeinetly have to drink some morning tea before commenting if I don't want to seem completely daft)

  2. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Yeah – they did an article on how photos go from the camera to being in the paper (IIRC they were showing some art students from another school how it was done, and decided to document the tutorial). And they chose my photo as the example, the bastards.

    • chall says:

      ahh… so I wasn’t all off base there. Good to know! I’m sorry since I can see the snide remarks (especially when you are a teen… oh the photo horror).

      The blog post is great! If it wasn’t for the “need to make an account” I’d log in and write under neath post itself. Love the italics idea …. (I’ve tried to use [] but it looks more clunky)

  3. Silver Fox says:

    Nice guest post! Seems like the commenters over there are a bit weird.

    Same captcha code as my last comment. What’s up with that? Makes me a little nervous. 🙂

  4. Heather says:

    Your article was great. You do well to self-promote. You should get @edyong and @BoraZ to do it, too, remember? and links therein, notably the comment thread of her earlier post.

    I *might* be sufficiently tempted to procrastinate that I write a post one of these days, eh 🙂 But you did it, and it’s great. Kudos to GrrlScientist, as I said on FB, for her good use of her soapbox. Agreed about the commenters, which is why I haven’t signed up there.

  5. cromercrox says:

    That all went horribly wrong. I meant


  6. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Thanks both!

    Heather, self-promotion most definitely does not come naturally to me, but I’m working on it!

    I hope you write your guest post soon!

  7. Stephen says:

    Nice story – and a really great piece in The Guardian!

  8. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Thanks Stephen!

Comments are closed.