According to CareerCast.com, and other career analysts, being a newspaper reporter is among the worst jobs.
I left this career in 1987, at least for the most part.
My bachelor’s degree was in Communications. I was editor of my campus newspaper. Then I was hired at a new fledgling newspaper in Cape Girardeau known as the Bulletin Journal, owned by Gary Rust. Gary Rust felt there was a need for another voice in Cape Girardeau other than the Southeast Missourian.
And the Bulletin Journal was very successful. Rust ended up buying the Southeast Missourian and opening a chain of newspapers throughout Southeast Missouri.
I loved that job. Every day was different. I constantly got to meet new and interesting people.
But then I felt it was time to start a family. The life of a newspaper reporter is often not helpful to raising children. They are too much alike. Kids get sick in the middle of the night and need your attention. News happens in the middle of the night and needs your attention.
You need to be with your family on holidays. While everyone is gathered around the table, your newspaper calls and says something has happened….and you need to get back to the office.
It’s an unpredictable schedule and life…..kind of like being a doctor, but without getting paid nearly as well.
So when my first daughter was born, I felt for the sake of my family, and my own sanity, it was time to make a change. So I switched to teaching. I would have a similar schedule to my children.
And I liked teaching also. Both reporting and teaching are basically education jobs.
Through a series of life events, I decided it was time to quit teaching, and figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I’ve been involved in the jewelry business, art, and design.
And then this idea came up of getting back into newspaper reporting. The kids aren’t here anymore. I’ve got more time. Could I do it? I’d forgotten how exhausting it is. And the most exhausting part? It never ends.
With most jobs, there is a finite beginning and ending. You build a house. The house is done.
With newspaper work, it’s much more complex. You are likely working on two or three stories at a time. They each have their challenges. Sometimes the subject matter itself is difficult to explain. It is often difficult to get reach your sources. You are on deadline. They are not.
You know some people will not be happy that you are even writing the story. You are just communicating events….but at times you are made to be the villain; or the hero.
Is it a tough job? Yes. Is it among the worst jobs? Maybe. But it has to be done.
Because a democracy without a free press, and without an educated public, will not remain a democracy for long.