Wednesday, September 10, 2008

front-page invisible

Journalists are invisible. Well, the vast majority are. It's amazing to think about pushing your work onto print every day and hoping someone takes notice. Good journalism focuses entirely on the story, leaving only the small area between the headline and the lede (yes, journalists spell lead, lede.—why? Because we're pretentious like that.) to give some recognition to the hours of work and stress put into getting that story done on deadline. "By Ronnie McNewsman"—that's all you get. Can you remember the author of the last article you read? I can't.

Delusions of grandure are an integral part of the jouranlist dream. The majority of people don't enter this thankless, poorly paid, long-houred job without the idea of busting open the next Watergate, myself included. However, I'm beginning to understand—as are most people around me—that recognition will come slowly, if at all, and it takes intrinsic motivation to keep yourself going.

That's why you have to be a journalist for one of two things: yourself or your story. Some people genuinely want to help others through their work. I refuse to believe anyone enters journalism soley for the public good, but I've talked to many students and graduates that recall great moments when their work helped someone—in a drastic or small way.

I've had some serious doubts about my career path lately, but I'm feeling better now. I made some mistakes. Nothing drastic but I faced my first correction on Monday. In retrospect, it's just a sign of becoming a bona fided, hard-shelled journalist. There should be plent of corrections from here on out. Of course I'll try my best to minimize them but I'm not afraid of my mistakes (so long as I keep my job of course).

I realize, I write this blog to give myself an open forum. Everything I write is front page here, my life is my beat, and I have no deadline or editor. It's my release, my stage, my spotlight in the dark.

I'd also like to say, when a journalists ask you "how's it going," they mean it. Not because you're the subject of a story but because they know what it is to be stressed, to be critized, to be at wit's end, to be invisible. Journalists, or atleast the ones I know, make great listeners, and friends.

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