Last night I attended a mixer event representing my station. I stood in front of a high top table and talked to people who approached my news manager and I. I had come down with some sort of bug. I hadn’t been able to eat all day, and my blood sugar was dropping drastically. I kept a smile throughout the night, as eager students approached our table. They asked questions about our station, what we do, and tips to survive journalism school. I answered politely, as my body ached and my head began to throb. A news manager told them about the opportunities I’ve received lately, including covering flooding in Charleston, SC and having my story picked up by Sports Illustrated and various other media outlets. As they oohed and ahhed, I began to wince.
Yes, I have covered incredible stories. I’m grateful for every story, every moment. I hope that one day I can tell my children about the people I’ve met along the way.
However, my job is not glamorous. It’s taken so much work to lead up to these past two weeks. And even then, behind-the scenes of each of these moments were filled with excessive phone calls, occasional disappointment, and tons of teamwork. It’s lead to a lack of sleep, and today some sort of ridiculous infection. I spend more time with my co-workers than my friends and family.
I’m not here to tell you that I hate my job. I love it. I love who I work with, from my students to my news director. I love being able to share stories with my community. I love my station’s mission.
But being a journalist isn’t for people who aren’t ready to take risks, make changes, and work hard. It’s for people who are ready to put their whole heart into a story. Journalism is for the strong and determined. It’s all guts, with very occasional glory. For every moment of triumph, there’s 10 games of phone tag with PIOs.
But when you triumph, it’s incredible. You feel like you’re floating. You’re reminded why you pursued this career. Sometimes those triumphs are traveling hours to get a great story. Sometimes those triumphs are being called “God,” by one of your co-workers (or in this case, my student).
Then you remember: For some people, being a journalist is the best job in the entire world.