Everyone assumes that as a journalism grad, I must want to be a reporter, and wonders why I’m not pursuing relevant positions.
But I’m not cut out for hardnosed reporting. I want to be a journalist, just not a reporter. I love subbing, editing, layout. I take great joy in untangling a mangled sentence. In writing captions, blurbs, headlines. And if I had more creative and technical bent, I might have gone into design.
My goal in life is not to bring down tobacco corps or expose dirty politicians. Those are noble causes – just not causes close to my heart. I work alongside reporters and have nothing but admiration for what they do (most of the time).
There is more to the field than ambulance chasing. It doesn’t mean I should go straight into PR or marketing, as one friend – a fellow journo, even! – has said to me (I don’t think I’d necessarily enjoy the commercial aspect of marketing, or all the liasing with various parties I’d have to do as a publicist).
Granted, sub-editing has traditionally been reserved for those with more experience. But that’s changing, with the centralisation of subbing operations and shrinking budgets – fellow grads have gone straight into fulltime subs work – and of course, the advent of online, where traditional hierarchies don’t apply so much.
Don’t get me wrong, I get a kick out of writing too. On that side of things, I’d probably want to pursue roles as a community reporter or entertainment writer. But I feel my heart is in online and that it’s a growth industry – which is why although aforementioned friend is pushing me towards a community arts reporting gig that’s up for the taking, I’m not applying.
In fact, I don’t think a lot of my fellow grads even understand online and what opportunities there are. To me, there’s the opportunity to move up faster, probably more money and certainly prestige, and fun bits on the side like graphic design, HTML, and social media. Although I’ve always thought I’d like to try a stint as a print sub – doing layouts and spreads – I am positive that I’d feel very limited back on the print side of things.
For now, I blog here, freelance at my side job, and mostly sub to my heart’s content at work. (I may not have the title or corresponding pay, but that is the job I’m doing nonetheless). It’s an ideal mix – maybe why I’m not getting the itch to write more?