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Do you enjoy being a broadcast journalist?

I love broadcasting and I want to hear if someone working that actual job loves it still. broadcast journalism broadcast-media

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Anne S.’s Answer

I've been in the television business for over 20 years and wouldn't trade it for the world. Don't get me wrong, there are good days and bad days but on the whole, I've never regretted my decision. Where else do you get to work with highly creative story tellers and watch video all day?! As my colleagues and I often say, "It beats working for a living!"

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Barry’s Answer

Hi, Hailey!

Thanks so much for reaching out. That question, which at first seems overly simplistic, is actually a much more complex question than it seems. There are three main issues here:

1. The internet has made it more difficult for true journalists to get jobs. It's not so simple to take what had been print publications (newspapers/magazines) and simply transpose it online. The reason is that the advertising is not there to support it. There are so many choices on the internet that it's easy to say, I don't NEED the heft of the Sunday New York Times. I'll go to Yahoo's news or even Facebook's news feed, etc. Thus, a lot of potentially good reporting will eventually fall by the wayside.
So-called "citizen journalists," those with blogs that they could (if they wanted) create from the couches in their mothers' basements, have drawn followings that have reached or even surpassed those of trained journalists. The law of averages says that some of those blogs are not bad, either. I think it's harder for the average consumer to tell the difference, which cheapens the hard-earned sheepskin I got from Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communications.
You would think that the ability to communicate in this day and age would expand the opportunity for us in media. In some ways, it has, but in terms of jobs, you'd be surprised - media is consolidating, not expanding.

2. Because jobs are consolidating and going away, more people trained to report and produce, as I have, are moving into public relations jobs. There are plenty of those to go around, by the bushel. Every prominent (and even not-so-prominent) individual/company needs to put "spin" on various situations and also promote everything they are doing.
There is certainly a place for that kind of job, and I have dealt with media relations people for teams, etc who have been wonderful facilitators for us. Media relations means that you coordinate all the reporters who cover a team, let's say - when they can come, who/when/where they'll interview someone with the organization, information they need, etc. Without those people, we could not do our jobs. So, I am definitely not trying to disparage what public/media relations people do.
That said, PR folks are obviously there to spin the overall "message" of their employer for the better (or, in some cases, to smooth over the damage control). My brain, however, is hard-wired to report facts and tell honest, fair, balanced, and accurate stories regardless of who winds up looking good or bad. That is who I am, not just what I do, so journalism is where I ended up.

3. Donald Trump has given all of us in the media business a bad name. I don't think I need to go much deeper into that. However, it would make sense if impressionable young people like you, Hailey, hear the daily bilge that comes from that man's mouth and decide that journalists are, at best, grimy people and at worst, evil people.
We are not evil people. We can get grimy, depending upon the story we're reporting. :) Our job includes (but is not limited to) holding people accountable for their actions. That can be a difficult task that's not for everyone. If that kind of thing is hardwired (or could be) into your brain, then this is the business for you.
To see what people REALLY think of journalists, try to find the YouTube clip of the show, "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" where he talks about the mining industry. The show reported horrendous dealings by this one mine executive, who sent the show a "Cease and Desist" letter to stop their reporting on the story. Oliver replied something like, "We never got one of those letters before, but you know what we're going to do? Rip it up and keep going!" The crowd goes crazy. That's what we do.

I hope that answers your question, Hailey. I think telling stories, whether at the kitchen table with your grandparents or on TV with the nation, is the richest, most rewarding exercise in the world. I have had issues with my employer over the years, as everyone does, blah blah blah. However, I can see no other profession, in general, in which I would rather be.

Best of luck to you, Hailey!

Barry Abrams