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Correspondent&#39s week

Writing Correspondent&#39s Week after just five days in my new job is surely a poisoned chalice.

Other former Money Marketing colleagues – who by tradition have been lumbered with the same task – have invariably managed to swiftly annihilate any good reputation that they had built up in their first week, and replace it with their first disillusioned glare from their new boss.

Most recently, one former Money Marketing hack was reprimanded by their company&#39s events division for slagging off the Christmas party less than 48 hours after getting in the door. A schoolboy error.

There are many reasons why I do not intend to make the same mistake. First, and perhaps most important, the seat in which I am sitting is still warm from its last occupant – an occupant, I might add, that, given the choice, would like still to be sitting here.

Second, I am quickly getting a taste for having a phone that includes voicemail facilities – a technological advance that had not reached Centaur, the company that owns Money Marketing, by the time I left three weeks ago.

On that basis, here is a brief account of my first week, which may or may not be true, and, most important, shows the utmost respect for my new employers from the outset.

Tuesday, 9.30am. Manage to find myself a desk, turn on the computer, and get going with some practice for my new voicemail greeting. 9.40am. Call myself from my mobile phone to check that my voicemail greeting sounds satisfactorily professional, before proceeding to get on with some work.

11am. First news meeting passes off okay as the big man seems relatively interested in my regurgitation of a story I read in the Sunday Times. Get to work trying to understand what I have just pitched in a bid to find a follow-up for the weekend.

As I take my first dip into the world of leisure, I realise that I don&#39t have a clue where to start and where to find stories. My real mission for the first day must be to find the Mark Dampiers of the leisure world.

1pm, Breakthrough! I remember how national journalists would nonchalantly nick our stories at MM and claim them for themselves, and I suddenly realise that Centaur&#39s very own Leisure & Hospitality Business magazine could be the answer to all my prayers. Arrange a meeting with the editor for that afternoon. It looks like I&#39m not just a pretty face after all.

4.30pm. Meeting with Leisure & Hospitality Business magazine editor goes well. Realise that not all trade editors hate the nationals. In fact, it looks as though we could both be of use to each other.

There is a harmony between trade and national that I never knew existed. Make a note to tell Money Marketing editor John Lappin about my experience.

Wednesday and Thurs-day seem to merge into one, with all day spent on the phone in a bid to make new friends. The Budget failed to throw up excitement for my new beat – and I fail in my bid to get the big man excited about bingo. No stories are forthcoming. Rapidly turning into nervous wreck as the end of the week approaches.

Friday and Saturday go much better – finally securing a couple of bylines and taking a bit of the pressure off. My low point comes when my exclusive NIB (news in brief) gets spiked. Incidentally, seeing as they wouldn&#39t have it here, you might be interested to know that Investors&#39 Week has shut down. Is it too late to go in?

James Daley is leisure, real estate and asset management reporter at The Business

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