If the rumours are true, then the typical journalist is more likely to be seen on a bar stool than furiously hammering away at a keyboard. Perhaps it is notÂ representative of all journalists, but last night at the annual George Orwell Prize debate in the Reuters building at Canary Wharf, Observer reporter Nick Cohen certainly tried his best to keep with tradition.
There to speak on the panel of five, including the likes of David Davies MP, Frank Field MP and author/commentator Douglas Murray, Cohen livened up the proceedings by repeatedly drifting off the topic of political parties and bankruptcy. Instead he chose to eviscerate Mail reporters Peter Oborne and Peter Hitchens for making the prize shortlist.
Stumbling past CfJ reporters before the event had even started; Cohen proceeded to refill his wine glass on numerous occasions throughout the hour long debate and was even spotted popping Nurofen pills and paracetamol tablets on stage, the likes of which should never been consumed together, especially not while heavily intoxicated.
Meanwhile, the actual purpose of the evening continued. The Observer reporterâ€™s frequent rants meaning that the regulator of the panel, Sean Maguire editor of political and general news at Reuters, had to repeatedly re-direct the debate back to the topic to ensure a relatively seamless evening.
Former journalist Gary Hicks told the CfJ the event was the first of the kind he had attended and had â€œnot expectedâ€ the course the proceedings took. He later commented that he was â€œsurprised it didnâ€™t turn into a slanging match.â€
Overall a very pleasant, informative and most entertaining evening, even if it didnâ€™t do much for the reputation of journalists, or for Peter Hitchensâ€™ temper as he sat fuming in the back rows.