It’s time to stand up for my peeps
And by peeps, I am referring to those of us who work weird hours for tiny paychecks in an often thankless job.
While I can deal with the hours, pay, stress and occasional accusation of ruining someone’s life, I can’t deal with the recent onslaught of articles condemning my chosen profession.
It all started with a study by CareerCast.com that named reporter as the worst job of 2013 — not among the worst careers or just close to the top. The. Worst. Job.
To quote the article “Ever-shrinking newsrooms, dwindling budgets and competition from Internet businesses have created very difficult conditions for newspaper reporters, which has been ranked as this year’s worst job, according to the CareerCast.com Jobs Rated report. Consumers can access online news outlets almost anywhere thanks to technological advancements, which are threatening the existence of traditional print newspapers. As a result, the number of reporter jobs is projected to fall 6% by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while average pay is expected to continue its decline.”
So, yes, newsrooms and budgets are shrinking. We are being asked to do more work with fewer people and in the same number of hours in the day. Reporters don’t just have to write stories. We snap photos, shoot video and prep all of it for the web. Oh, and we need to be Tweeting and posting the entire time, too.
At our newsroom, we joked about the article and then continued chasing news in our busy, stressed out and stretched-thin fashion.
Then came the next bomb. Yahoo.com had an article “Dying Careers You Should Avoid.” I was almost afraid to click.
Guess what? We weren’t No. 1. Instead, they list reporter as dying career No. 2.
Check out what Yahoo says:
“They say a species must adapt or die, and with the trend of the Internet replacing print journalism (you are reading this on the computer, after all), media folks who don’t adjust might not survive too much longer. In short, many reporters could be going the way of their typewriters soon.”
Helpfully, Yahoo offers an alternative career as a public relations specialists. PR friends, please know I am sincere: I do not mean to offend anyone in the PR or marketing fields. However, in journalism, those who start out writing the news and leave to go to PR are considered sellouts. The idea behind journalism, and the reason most of us signed up for the field as wide-eyed college freshmen, is that we write for the people, for the regular Joe, the sweet older neighbor lady who just can’t afford to pay higher taxes and so on. The idea behind PR is to be a speaker, a cheerleader, if you will for companies, government agencies, etc. They aren’t paid or trained to speak for the interest of the common man.
So, If people want to accuse newspapers of spinning the news, just wait until all of us reporters take Yahoo’s advice and your “news” comes from the PR world. Their jobs are to spin the news about the organization they represent. As my BFF said “wait until the news is ‘look this (insert local business) is getting new palm trees!’”
What people seem to forget is without media there is no oversight of the government. There is no one to report when lawmakers vote to raise their pay in the middle of the night. There is no one to look into how tax dollars are being spent. No one to ask the tough questions.
But these so-called articles do not address the need for newspaper reporters in the sense that we serve an important public service. Maybe the authors of these reporter-hater posts forgot all of that.
The role of reporters is constantly evolving. Maybe there will be fewer of us, our pay will decline and we will all be on blood-pressure medication by age 35, but at least we are doing a job we believe in. The role of a reporter is important and we are here to stay.
SO BACK OFF MY PEEPS!