I FOUND the plight of 30-year-old Sarah Tressler of Houston both amusing and surprising. The very attractive young lady was castigated when it was discovered she was working two jobs: as a stripper and a journalist.
The surprising element was that she was criticised for taking her clothes off rather than for being a reporter. The Houston Chronicle, for whom she worked as feature writer and society reporter, sacked her.
The club where she worked was more tolerant. They didn’t mind that she was a member of the fourth estate.
So what jobs are compatible with journalism?
Years ago I worked on the Evening Gazette in Blackpool where the editor suggested reporters didn’t need a pay rise because of the opportunities provided by the town to earn extra income. The cheek of it!
Mind you, one had an ice cream van, another ran a boardinghouse and a third was a professional comedian. I was his roadie round the nightclubs of the north of England.
MI5 and MI6 have often recruited journalists as agents although, sadly, I have never been approached. There is obviously no call for James Bond in Huddersfield.
In the past, I have known colleagues to drive taxis and do bar work, but not at the same time. I have written scripts for an illusionist, taken photographs for a builder and verbatim notes of court proceedings against Hell’s Angels for a barrister. Oh yes, and I wrote a few books.
Some very clever women reporters have actually simultaneously held down far more responsible jobs as mothers and housewives. Now that takes some doing.
But none that I have known have taken their clothes off for money. Neither have I, as it happens. But if I had pursued a secondary career as a Chippendale would that have clashed with the ethics of my profession?
Sarah Tressler has claimed wrongful dismissal, wants her job back on the Houston Chronicle, and has already got her own back in spectacular fashion. She has appeared on several TV programmes, is to publish her memoirs, Diary Of An Angry Stripper, and has embarked upon a nationwide tour. As a stripper, of course. No one would want to go and listen to a journalist.