It *Should* Be Freakin’ Hard To Be In Media

Rafat Ali
Rafat Ali
Nov 29, 2018 · 2 min read

I have usually held unpopular views well enough, so I will go for it: it *should* be hard. Starting something in media, building in, being in it, building a career in it, it should be hard.

It should be hard to have and hold down a job in media, to have and hold down a job in journalism. It should be hard to report, it should be harder to write great stories out of reporting.

It should be really hard to raise millions and millions in funding. It should be hard and maybe impossible to have a valuation in hundreds of millions. It better be freakin’ hard to have millions in revenues and reach sustainability as a media company.

It should be hard to do great video, harder to have anyone watch it. It should be hard to get traffic from platforms, hard to get people to “share” your creation through platforms.

It should be harder than just coming up with some bullshit idea to start a millennial media outlet, whatever that means. It shouldn’t be easy to get two full floors in World Trade Center building as your office, when you’re running on borrowed money and time. It should be hard to call yourself the Condé Nast of the next generation, harder to even build one. It should be harder than starting with clickbait and then pivoting to quality, and then raise up hands when that is hard to do. It should be hard to replicate your success in one vertical to others.

It should be hard for man-child douchebags to start media companies, harder still to make money off it. It should be hard for white privilege to “reinvent media”, whatever the fuck that means. It should be hard to fail upwards for white males in media.

The democratization of publishing has had lots of good effects for the growth of media around the world, the biggest being the proliferation of previously under-represented groups to have a voice. But amongst the worst effects of it has been the perception that it is easy to be in media, have a career in media, raise money in media, build a company in media.

Few are in it for tons of money, that still remains true, most of us are in it for glory.

Getting glory should be really hard.

Rafat Ali

Written by

Rafat Ali

CEO/Founder, Skift, travel intelligence startup. Founder, paidContent. New Yorker, Global Soul. My travel pics:

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