I don’t actually disagree with this Wall Street Journal blog post that being a newspaper reporter is the worst job of the year.
I mean, I am tired. Tired.
My brain is absolutely gelatinous from trying to pound out content six days a week. My nerves are shot from trying to maintain patience, patience, patience with sources and PR reps and readers — from trying to please everyone all the time while still keeping a grasp on objectivity and news judgment and all those old, essential pillars.
Newspaper reporting is a constant battle of not-enough.
We don’t have enough time. We don’t have enough reporters. We don’t have enough jobs. We definitely don’t have enough money.
So yes, by the objective standards set forth by the survey the WSJ was writing about (physical demands, work environment, income, stress and hiring outlook) this job sucks.
But there are a lot of things that survey can’t measure.
It can’t measure the hand-written notes from people who actually liked something you wrote — something that wasn’t about them.
It can’t measure the realization that even when someone calls to scream at you, they’re validating that what you do on a daily basis matters to them.
It can’t measure days spent entirely on finding something new — driving roads until you find something new, talking to strangers until you find something new, picking through documents until you find something new.
And that survey can’t measure the passion and push and unexplainable fire that wakes you up in the morning, that pushes you through a 12-hour day, that moves your fingers on the keys and your pen across the notebook and keeps your head from dropping onto the desk.
You don’t do this for the money or the job security or the work environment. If you wanted any of that, you never would have done it, or you would have gotten out fast.
You do it because of the fire.