This isn’t a post I particularly want to write, but it’s one I need to write.
I’m not really even sure how to phrase it, but here goes.
I’m having doubts. I’m just feeling really disillusioned.
I love writing. I like writing so much, I don’t even need to see my name in print – I don’t care if I get a byline.
But it’s so not a good way to make a living. Like Penelope Trunk’s said, if you can find another way to get by than by writing, you should take it.
So many of us went into journalism full of hopes and idealism. But once you learn more about the machine, it’s pretty near impossible to retain that.
News is so mundane. Things get blown out of proportion. There are PR/comm types who stonewall you and irate, often irrational readers who abuse you. There are actually people who talk media-speak – who speak in soundbites and try to make every sentence quotable.
I know there’s bureaucracy in any job. I know there are commercial concerns and I know there will always be people who you can never fully satisfy. People whose perceptions are so out there, people who are determined to infer things that aren’t there. I don’t just mean nitpicking, I mean straight up crazies. I know accountability is part of having any job, and as much as I fear screwing up and getting the facts wrong or misquoting, I would rather do that than be crunching numbers and potentially making errors which could spell catastrophe for a company’s bottom line. (Did I mention I went through a bunch of my old crap and found my old Stats workbook and exercises? I looked through them and actually recoiled. Then I threw it out. Not that stats has anything to do with, say, accounting, but maths is maths to me…)
People may look down on those who work in community news. But you know what, I enjoyed doing human interest stories. I enjoyed working with real people, with genuine, honest, humble and down to earth Kiwis.
I don’t really know where this is going… I just needed to get some stuff off my chest. And just lastly, if anyone out there is struggling with shorthand….freaking A, you’re not alone! It’s bloody impossible to keep up. I’m so not at the stage where I can do it without thinking – it requires concentration, which slows me down and makes it faster to use abbreviated longhand. Bring on second semester!
i gotta tell you, i’m a huge fan of human interest stories and community news but that doesn’t seem to get a lot of play where i live. everything is so sensationalized and i just don’t have the stomach for it. i’d love to see more “news” and less tmz.
as for the shorthand, i have no idea how anyone becomes successful at it. i know it’s supposed to make life easier but it seems a little difficult to me;-). keep up the great work!
I like your post. I think tons of people would like to write this post but they are too scared.
Also, I think that national news is a commodity, and community news is probably the only place there is a future for news.
Thanks Penelope – means a lot to me!
Also, I think that at least community news isn’t out to make money, so in that sense they are less at risk – while other papers are dying, community papers are distributed free and never made a profit anyway.