I need to vent.
I chose to be a journalist because I felt I could use my love for being with people, writing, and public speaking to do something decent in life.
I still feel that way. Sometimes I can’t believe I get paid to do this job. Other days I think no one could pay me enough. But I still believe in the basic principles of journalism. Yes, there are plenty of seedy people in the business. Yes, there are people who stopped caring a long time ago and only want to have something good for their resume reel. But I get angrier every day when I’m lumped into that same group.
Several weeks ago, I heard a radio report about a survey in which people were asked to name the most unethical professionals. Journalists were ranked most unethical – more so than politicians and lawyers.
Even more recently, people in the business have been talking about how unethical journalists are. I think that frustrates me even more. I’d hope they would know that not everyone is in it to exploit people.
I don’t imagine that I’m the Mother Theresa of journalism, trying to spread the good word of love to the world. I’m sure I’ve made mistakes. But I don’t think I’m evil either, and I don’t think I work hard every day for a laughable salary for the detriment of society. I know I’ve done some things right. I’ve had people thank me for helping them, or at least for caring about their situation.
There are plenty of problems within the news business. Sometimes I’ve wanted out, and sometimes I still do. But I know there are some people in the business who care about their communities. And I think it’s important to inform people about what’s happening around them.
Now I have to rant about what I read in one of Trent’s recent posts about J-school. I value my journalism education. I also value the courses I took not related to journalism. I think getting a well-rounded education is invaluable in this business. An intership can’t teach you about economics or anthropology or the history of Latin America — but those are all things that have been valuable to me in understanding the different stories I’m asked to cover.
In conclusion, some journalists probably don’t care very much about the people in their stories. But I refuse to believe every person who chooses the profession is without a soul.