It takes a thick-skinned person to be a journalist.
Think about it. A journalist has to have the wherewithal to demand sources to talk. A journalist has to be able to drop everything and run to the other side of town to get the story. A journalist has to ask questions that are often uncomfortable to ask. A journalist has to deal with the backlash of a story. Also, a journalist can’t be fazed when everyone hates him or her in the end.
Here’s the really unfortunate thing about being a journalist: Just because we take on this job, people automatically assume we’re take-no-prisoners, do-anything-for-the-scoop, and personal-relations-be-damned type of people. It doesn’t often cross folks’ minds that some of us are just here to tell a story.
I’ve been making enemies left and right since I started writing. It’s true, a lot of my work is written with the intent to rabble rouse. Oftentimes I write articles I know people will disagree with, but they’re not usually the type of people I’d care to agree with in the first place.
However, there are other assignments I’ve taken on that have backfired horribly. At the beginning of the semester, I wrote a couple of articles on a student’s attempt to start a sorority on campus.
It’s amazing how both sides automatically equated my writing the article with my wanting to be an activist. In the cacophony, I’ve been accused of misrepresenting facts and not doing enough to represent the discriminated, I’ve been asked to tattle on all parties involved in the debacle, and people in administration that I considered friends, or at least allies, now seem afraid to even speak to me for fear of what I might write.
Truth be told, this has made me question whether telling a story is worth it.
Is it worth leaving a wake of disdain everywhere I go? Is it worth it to have co-workers consider me wishy-washy because I don’t want to continue making enemies?
It all just makes me appreciate the warriors in the journalism field who can get up every day and face this adversity. I know it affects them as well, but they’re much stronger than I am.
This week’s review is for my fellow journalists who stick it out and don’t let the fact that the world hates them destroy who they are. I hope each and every one of them wins a Pulitzer Prize. I hope they’re each recognized. I hope the world knows the truth because of what my fellow journalists uncover.
As for me, I just want to tell a story, make people laugh and hopefully drive home a point or two in the process. There’s got to be a way I can do that without pissing off the people I care about.
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