Thursday, April 26, 2012

The journalism encounter

The more I think about it, the more I feel that journalism and extramarital affairs have much in common. Both are highly addictive, exciting and often involve a significant amount of danger.

I say this as a former journalist who is presently out of a job and weighing the options on whether delving right back into this extremely challenging field of writing is necessarily a good thing.

Perhaps my exposure to journalism isn't quite the standard fare as compared to the experiences of most:

  1. I have never worked for the newspaper
    (I worked for a weekly magazine funded mostly by an NGO)
  2. I have never worked on shift
    (I worked from 9.30am - 6.30pm, five days a week plus the odd weekend and night assignments that are inevitable for anyone wishing to cover current issues or unfolding news)
  3. I wasn't confined to beat/specialised reporting
    (I wrote articles for all six sections of the publication I worked for)
  4. I never took any formal courses in communications nor journalism
    (I was a [computer] programmer for about two years; when I finally jumped into a writing career, I had to pick up the required skills while on the job)
  5. I frequently and regularly annoyed the editor
    (to a degree that possibly no other journalist before me has been capable of - well, at least that's how I perceived it from the way my editor responded to my antics)
But before you rubbish off my experiences as being fake, I did, however, experience the following:

  1. Pressing deadlines
  2. Coverage of government events and announcements, including trips to Parliament and police headquarters
  3. Possession of a genuine, government-issued Media Tag
  4. Investigative work involving use of the Internet and interactions with various parties who were related to the subject matter being written on
  5. Frequent outings to meet people (important and otherwise) and to conduct interviews with them
  6. Frantic photo taking attempts in order to give the editor something visually pleasing to include in stories I wrote
  7. Last minute assignments which necessitated vacating an already packed personal schedule
  8. Writer's block during the 1-2 hours in which a news story was to be crafted
  9. An almost perpetual insufficient amount of information for feature articles

Why would anyone want to dig their noses into someone else's business just so they can flex their writing muscles to tell the whole world about something they hadn't cared about before and may not even bother with after having read a laboriously crafted article?

Hmm. Let's leave it at that for now. I'll get back to you when I've figured this whole journalism thing out.

Meanwhile, I'd like to stay unattached for now (to any employer, that is).