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What is the most rewarding thing about a career in journalism

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I don't necessarily like to write but I have been told that I am good at it. I am trying to determine if being good at writing is the best way to judge if this is the career for me. #journalism #communications #business-communications

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Pradeep’s Answer

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The nine best things about journalists...
1. We tell you things that you didn't even know you didn't know

  1. Our default position is healthy scepticism

  2. We know that there's no such thing as a stupid question

  3. Our way with words translates jargon into language that actual people use

  4. We juggle complex intellectual, legal, commercial and ethical issues every day, simultaneously and at high speed, all while giving the impression of being little deeper than a puddle

  5. Our lateral thinking spots the significance of the dog that didn't bark (noting in the process that Sherlock Holmes was created by a journalist)

  6. We speak truth to power (or, at least, we say boo to a goose)

  7. Our gallows humour keeps us going despite the grim stories we cover and the even grimmer people we work with

  8. We identify with other journalists as fellow members of society's awkward squad (which is why even those of us who have left the frontline of reporting and become "hackademics" still can't stop saying "we")

The nine worst things about journalists...
1. We have a tendency to tell young hopefuls that all the quality has vanished from journalism compared to when we started out (journalists have been harking back to a mythical golden age for well over a century)

  1. Our scepticism can sometimes become cynicism

  2. We routinely demand public apologies or resignations from anyone accused of misbehaviour (except ourselves)


  1. Our way with words is too often used to reduce individuals or communities to stereotypes

  2. We have been known to conflate a popular touch with boorish anti-intellectualism

  3. Our collective memory lets us down surprisingly often. (We won't get fooled again? Don't bet on it)

  4. We are in danger of viewing the world through the eyes of whoever employs us, forgetting that, while they might hire us, they don't own us

  5. Our insistence that we are something of a special breed is a bit rich given that most journalistic jobs have more in common with The Office than with All The President's Men

  6. We eviscerate politicians for fiddling their expenses while celebrating hacks from the golden age (see 1) for doing exactly the same


Kathleen’s Answer

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Hi William -

You have an excellent question. I would start my answer with a question for you:

“What are YOU passionate about?”

The answer to this is key, because if you are passionate about what you do for a career - it’s never “work” ...it’s something you love doing. I’ve seen executives and all levels of employees talk about this (check YouTube - maybe a Ted Talks?)

I’ve had a great career working in national and international media. I even lived in Germany for 10 years because of it.

On the downside, it was also a career of often working holidays and weekends. Journalists — like police officers and firemen and doctors and nurses at hospitals — inevitability will work weekends, and holidays and overnights. Because I was passionate about my career, I was willing to make that work ...but, I will freely admit, I missed out on a lot of time with my family.

So I go back to my question to you: “What are YOU passionate about?!” There are a lot of jobs that involve writing — you don’t have to be a journalist to exercise that talent. There are communications departments in companies — nationally and globally — and they need good writers and strategists . Sports teams have comms departments, too.

Or maybe you want to be an engineer? Or a doctor? Or a researcher seeking a cure to cancer? Many of them write, too, for professional journals, etc.

Find your passion — I believe it’s the secret to a successful career, no matter what you do.

All the best,


Kathleen recommends the following next steps:

  • What is your passion??!
  • Do your research on careers that appeal to you because of passion
  • If you want a position that includes writing — seek those out, too, in all their variations.
  • Reach out to others already in the profession — their insight can be very helpful, especially if it’s someone who has been in the career 10+ years. Advice from these pros can be valuable.

Brian’s Answer

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When I was working as a newspaper reporter and editor, I always considered it a public service.

I saw myself as the eyes and ears for people in the community who were too busy with their jobs or other activities in their daily lives to be able to attend all the necessary events or keep close watch on the government, companies or other organizations and individuals whose actions would affect them, whether positively or negatively.

As a reporter, I was there at the city council or school board meetings or other civic events to let the readers know what decisions or actions had occurred that might impact their lives. The same thing for emergency events - journalists can let the public know whether anyone was hurt in a fire or what roads have been shut down due to an accident or what precautions to take for an expected storm, etc.

Overall, if you take out the cynical and negative coverage by some media outlets and the uneasy or angry reception by some members of the public, journalists can provide a very important service to the public by being a source of valuable information, especially when other people are too busy to collect the information for themselves but still need it for various aspects of their lives.


Frances’s Answer

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Well, you have the first prerequisite-you're not tortured by the thrill of writing...like most of us writers tend to be. I think the rewarding thing about journalistic writing is that you have the opportunity to put your objective stamp on whatever is happening in the world, and to do it well is a desirable quality any company or firm will hold in high esteem.

It's a transferable skill because it demands voice, independence and self regulation. I think you should go for it, see how it works with your life currently, and take the experience in tow for your future endeavors.


Ashley’s Answer

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As a music journalist, I find the most rewarding part of my job is helping music lovers discover bands they have never heard of before while being able to discover these bands myself. As someone who writes for local/small publications, I also love allowing up and coming musicians to gain coverage that they may not get from bigger publications. In a time of division, music is more unifying than ever, which is really cool to witness. It is awesome to see how music reflects the current culture.