Just occasionally something happens to remind journalists that they wield...well, a sort of influence.
If I seem surprised, it's because I am. No matter how much some journos claim otherwise, most of our writing becomes tomorrow's fish and chip wrapper, or survives as a series of unseen URLs in a Google cache, which is the 21st century equivalent of old newspapers.
We like to believe our copy makes the world sit up and take notice but in reality we write our articles, file them and see them printed on paper or posted online. Then it all stops.
The phone goes if there is a problem but (leaving to one side the vicious souls who leave serial-comments at the bottom of online stories) we tend to hear very little after the majority of stories have run. That is, unless someone quoted in a story has had "a result".
Now we really do not write stories to help houses sell, nor to put business the way of those quoted in our pieces. Frankly, most of us write stories simply to earn a living, because we can do nothing else.
But sometimes we discover that our writing has made a difference. In other words, editorial works - at least for those who make the effort to respond to journalists, for those who "give good quote", and those adding value to the stories in which they are cited.
In recent years my pieces have (always indirectly and inadvertently):
* led to a TV chat show host buying his east London home after first seeing it in an article in The Independent;
* helped a buying agent win a new client after her expertise was quoted in a Daily Telegraph article;
* assisted some British buyers, poorly treated by a developer in Spain, having their deposits returned after two years following a series of stories in different papers;
* helped a house doctor get a new client because of being quoted in a story; and
* led to many buyers finding their homes not on property websites but in the pages and online editorial of the Telegraph, FT and Daily Mail.
In the interests of fairness, I should also record that a very few articles have had the opposite effect:
* one story, suggesting that fractional ownership works better in sun-kissed lands rather than the British westcountry, led to an estate agent being disinstructed on a scheme;
* another story led to a buyer pulling out of a deal to purchase a new-build flat after hearing of the developer's treatment of buyers at another scheme.
However, with hand on heart I can say the detrimental consequences of articles have been far, far outweighed by the occasions where estate agents, builders or other property professionals have been helped by being quoted in stories.
So editorial works and that is why - even if you think that journalists colonise only the moral foothills of the world - it is usually worth co-operating with us hacks getting your name in a story.
Now, I must go and earn some money...er, sorry, write that next earth-changing story.
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