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Elizabeth Pears says goodbye to the Haringey Independent
As stories fall through — or better stories flood in — us journo’s have found it wise to hold regular news meetings to keep on top of what gems are going to make it in the paper.
So during my last week as a member of the Independent Team, huddled round a table in a cold, empty corner office no one really uses, we shared our latest offerings: a mother accused of murdering her baby, an on-going gang-rape and acid attack trial, a mangled body found in a suitcase, a teacher accused of racism and a mother’s plea to her son’s murderers to turn themselves in. Gory stuff, I know. Who on earth would ever want to live, or even report, in Haringey?
But I would be doing a disservice to the borough if I dedicated my last blog to exploring Haringey’s dark side. Though the axe-wielding maniacs, suspicious firestarters and cold-hearted killers have come fast and furious, the good times I have had and the great people I have met outnumber them all.
On my first day of work at the paper, unable to convince myself (let alone anyone else) that I was actually a real journalist. I arrived to work early (for the first and last time — cough, cough) and was posted to the Haringey Independent and not the paper I’d been interviewed for. Apart from the 24-hour McDonalds in Green Lanes and Alexandra Palace where I’d been ice-skating with friends, I knew nothing about the borough and, quite frankly my dears, I didn’t want to know. What a fool I was!
Some may say Haringey has a questionable reputation, though I think of it as a ‘certain je ne sais qua’. And as a news patch it’s an undisputed goldmine.
It is a borough with serious problems: a housing crisis, high levels of unemployment, disenchanted youth, class divisions and poverty. But that meant that not a day passed when there wasn’t something important to fight, or write, for. Which has made my job easy — and a pleasure.
So after a year reporting in Haringey, I’ve gone from unconfident novice to capable news gatherer which seems a good time to face the final curtain.