My studies in communications so far have given me a newfound respect for journalists. They get a bad rap a lot of the time, but take into consideration all that journalists, say, news writers, do.
First, they have to do extensive research to find out what it is they’re even writing about. Then they have to hunt down somebody — anybody — who will talk to them and give them accurate information. After their e-mails and voicemails are ignored for two weeks they have to either find someone else to talk to, or show up at the person’s office and refuse to leave until their questions are answered. They have to ask intelligent questions while hoping their tape recorder doesn’t run out of batteries because that little red warning light is flashing. Then their pen runs out of ink. Once the interview is over, they have to talk to someone else to double check the facts. Then they triple check.
Once they have all the information they think they need, they finally sit down to write the article. They have to figure out how to make people want to read it. They have to keep their own opinion on the subject completely out of it. They have to listen to that crappy tape recording 17 times to make sure they got the quotes exactly right. When they realize they need a little more information, they have to write another email for clarification, which will be ignored, as will the follow-up call.
They have to write an exact number of words in a specific amount of time in AP style for a specific audience. Once finished, the article is ripped apart by an editor. Whole paragraphs are crossed out, arrows going every which way. Five drafts later the article is finally accepted, then printed. But the frustration isn’t over. Readers comment and complain; someone is always unhappy and disagrees.
Yep, being a journalist isn’t easy. They don’t get no respect. For the most part, journalists are just trying to let you know what’s going on in your community and throughout the world, so unless you want to go through the above process yourself, how about cutting them some slack?
I will graduate from the University of Utah in Spring 2009 with degrees in English literature and mass communication.
Both of my majors have required me to write extensively. News writing really encompasses all kinds of writing skills, whether it be creative writing or maintaining objectivity in a news story. I hope the skills I have learned will help me go on to a career in editing and publishing.