6 Lessons about People after 6 Years of Working as a Journalist
Day 40/365: Journalism is the undiscovered Bible of the Social Sciences
This month marks my one-year anniversary being out of the press business. It’s odd, to be honest, because as a full-time freelancer I just landed a gig as a contributor to one of the biggest online motorsports magazines in my country. Just the other day, like literally a year after my last submitted article.
I was re-reading this piece that I published some days ago (and am very proud of, by the way, as I’m sharing it literally every single day on every single platform at my disposal) and I decided to share my lessons about the people that I’ve worked or wrote about during my 6 years on the job.
1. The truth hurts
This is universal, but it applies especially with journalism. Once the truth is out there, you’re as exposed as you’ve ever been. No matter if you’re a good guy in front of your friends, family and coworkers.
Once they read about you and what you’ve done in the papers, you’re forever hurt and seen differently. The truth hurts people and there’s not much they can do about it once it’s out there, because once something gets published, it can never be unpublished.
2. People hold grudge
While it’s true that people can’t do much after the truth about them is exposed in the media, they can hold a grudge on the journalist. This is again extremely common and very, very wrong. While I was just doing my job, I got to experience grudge at its highest levels.
I’m out of the job for a year now and I still know people that would love to see me under a car or dead, because of some meaningless article that I wrote about them years ago. Because sure, I’m the reason why they broke the law or assaulted somebody, not themselves…
3. Your story has impact on you and the subjects
No matter what your story is about, you will also get affected by it. For every single word that you publish, you are to be held accountable, should one word be not truthful and hurt somebody in this way.
I have no idea why I used this writing style just now. I hope it’s accurate. Anyways, sometimes the story has as much impact on yourself as it has on your subjects or readers, so always making sure that it is 100% accurate was key for me in order to make it home alive at the end of the day. Literally alive. Trust me, I’ve seen things…
4. Making friends is hard
Journalism is a highly demanding job. Making friends while you’re a journalist and in the spotlight daily is harder. People never know how they can or cannot open up to you, because who knows, maybe they’ll get in the paper tomorrow?
I hold close to a handful of friends that trusted me while at the job, but if there’s one thing that I’ve learned is that journalism, especially investigative journalism is a very lonely job, as it sometimes puts you in a much powerful spotlight than the subjects of your articles.
5. Journalists are not paid for every word they write
One common misconception about journalists, especially in the local media is that they are paid for everything that they put out. News pieces, reports, opinions, investigations, they all must have a secret reason for being published, as in, a person that dictates on what goes out and what doesn’t.
Although that’s sometimes the case, I’ve never put out a piece on command. I never allowed my boss, nor the investors of our newspaper to dictate me into writing a certain peace.
Journalists still write following public interest and are paid a salary, just like everybody else. They are not article-making machines and are not at the disposal of “person X” or “mogul Y”.
6. Information is power, but it mostly changes nothing
I wrote about the mishaps and failures of the mayor in my city for nearly 6 years. Since then, he’s been reelected two times. That stands to show that while publishing information is vital, it rarely changes people. Readers read, and then they go on with their lives. While my city is just a small example, this is true at a national level.
Journalists are fighting corrupt politicians on a daily basis and, at the end of the day, little to nothing gets better. And this is happening for over 25 years, since the Romanian Revolution.
It’s hard to keep up with the norm, but holding and publishing information, while not always effective, is crucial for a democracy that is so scarce, it would just vanish the minute journalists would decide to lay off their profession.
I decided to quit, some because of the lessons described above, some because of personal reasons and some because of financial problems, but all in all, I can’t but admire and cherish every single journalist in my country that still wakes up and go to his or her job every single day. They are true heroes, Guardians of Democracy and are the few ones that can actually make a change through the work that they do.
Thank you for your time!
My name is Gabriel Iosa, I’m a 25 years old travel enthusiast, food lover, Psychology student, Full-time Freelancer, writer and Instagram fanatic. You can follow me @gabrieliosa, and if you liked this post, give it exactly 45 claps!
I’m on a mission to write 365 articles in 2018. This is definitely the biggest writing challenge of my life so far. If you’d like to be part of the journey, please follow me here on Medium.com for the daily posts!