A journalist is about as popular as a lawyer or Congressman. People need to blame something or someone, the media and its practitioners-journalists-are usually first targets. But, what can one learn from that reality?
Being in a maligned industry and profession teaches people many things. It certainly taught this daily newspaper reporter-turned-freelance writer some things about dealing with life and fellow humans.
- · Ask good questions:
Asking good questions is the only tool a reporter or writer has, which ensure he or she walks away with a good story. In order to write what you know, you’ve got to know your subject. Posing pertinent and specific questions is the only way you’ll ever get the necessary answers.
- · Communicate clearly:
Communicating clearly doesn’t just include clear and concise questions. You must clearly communicate your wants and needs, when someone asks you a question. You’re probably not dealing with clairvoyants.
- · Learn to deal with office politics:
Don’t expect to see democracy in action in the workplace. Why? There’s no such thing. Gay rights groups are fighting for passage the U.S. Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). So, firing someone simply for being gay is OK. Employees can be fired without cause in “right to work” states like Illinois.
- · Learn to deal with diverse populations:
Being a reporter allowed me to interact with a diverse group-in and out of the newsroom. That interaction took place on the phone or in person. So, every time the phone rang or I headed out to cover a story, dealing with all kinds of people was a possibility.
- · Learn to deal with customers off the clock:
It might just feel as though you’re on the clock-even on your day off. A reporter usually spends all day on the phone or out in the field talking to people. While reporters focus on interviewing certain people for their stories, customers, usually readers, just might approach them. If one’s lucky, they’ve got compliments. More than likely, it could be a complaint. With that said, people are ready to give that feedback anywhere, including the grocery store or gym.
Even if reporters are as popular as politicians, you can still learn from them. The latter are important lessons, which you can take can apply to your own life. They show journalism isn’t necessarily as glamorous as you might have thought the career was, at first.