Welcome to the noir world of Ray C Doyle
Is Journalism art? Is writing fiction? Both take many years to attain an appreciative audience and a lot of work to keep that audience. I am past asking, Is journalism art? Is writing fiction? Yes, it is. One of my earliest recollections as a cub reporter was my editor telling me that every story must be factual and truthful and backed by good research to prove authenticity. It was a hard life that I chose. One that made me realise after a couple of years how important it is to reveal what is important in the world around us. In my case as a new boy, local news. It’s a well-worn phrase, sometimes used in ridiculous situations, but the public does have a right to know about anything that costs taxpayers money – and that’s most things.
By the time I was twenty-two, I worked for another local paper and started reporting on more important news such as local politics and crime stories. It was during this time that I received my first pat on the head from my editor. I exposed a local fraud within the local council chambers involving the misuse of waste disposal funds by two councillors. Further political reports and a blossoming association with a local member of parliament earned me the attention of a London broadsheet.
It was like starting all over again when I successfully applied and was offered a post there as a reporter. I wanted to get my teeth into politics but to my dismay, I got the mundane assignments no one else wanted. It took a further three years before I got what I wanted. A colleague went sick as a general election was announced and I was put on the team. I interviewed the likes of cabinet ministers and prospective candidates. Asking the right questions that sometimes trip politicians up or embarrass them is something I learned from an old experienced reporter I was teamed up with. I asked him. Is journalism an art? Is writing fiction? He just smiled.
During the following years, I became a foreign correspondent and spent plenty of time in Westminster and Whitehall. It was Brussels, though, where I gained quite a reputation, lifting the lid on a lot of corruption in the early days of the European Union. Those were the roughest years of my career. You can’t expose crime in the upper reaches of government without making a few enemies. Many of them tried using the law to gag me but due to strong backing from my boss and public outrage when my articles appeared, I stayed ahead of the pack. This was the sharp end of politics and the dirtiest. I got knocked around a few times but that made me dig the dirt more to uncover the bad side that damages the integrity of the corridors of power and the public’s trust.
After living from one hotel to another, never knowing when I was going to get a break, I retired later than I could have. With a wealth of experience behind me, I decided to write fiction about a political columnist. My experience in politics and a long relationship (not friendly) with the security services involved heavily in government shenanigans, helped a lot in making my stories believable. Is journalism an art? Yes, as artistic as fiction.
Today I write political and contemporary spy thrillers that expose how it really is behind the plastic smiles and limp handshakes. Is journalism art? Is writing fiction?