My year as president of the Society of Professional Journalists has been one of the most rewarding and enriching duties of my life. The hard work and passion of our volunteers is a joy to witness. The determined nature and excellence of the journalists we serve is inspiring.
Try to learn something new every day. It is a simple idea, but one that is sometimes hard to put into practice amid the hectic pace of modern-day life. Yet, journalists are uniquely positioned to keep learning, both about their world and profession.
The Society of Professional Journalists needs leaders. We need committed leaders who want to plant the flag of quality, ethical journalism. We need courageous leaders not afraid to speak out and help influence the national dialogue. We need you right now.
May 1st, 2008 • Quill Archives
Take pride in your work, but take care of yourself
Trying to explain the lifestyle of working journalists is difficult to the uninitiated. Some in the profession might argue that being a journalist — if done well — means having no life other than the newsroom. In truth, there are dozens of clichés about life in the news business, archetypal descriptions of standard players in any newsroom.
Journalism and the media in these days of rapidly developing digital technology, self-publishing and the incredible advances of the Internet seem like the Wild, Wild West. Certainly, the world has gotten smaller and access to the kind of publishing apparatus once the purview of newspaper companies that owned printing presses and broadcast companies with FCC licenses has grown.
The clichés about change in our culture are inevitable and endless. Over the past decade, the affirmations of change in the world of journalism have become almost as replete. Now, it appears there are three things certain in this life for journalists: death, taxes and video.
Times are bad in your industry when your favorite television show decides to pick on your livelihood. On the other hand, it is probably just a case of the truth hurting a little too much. Since the first episode of the first season about five years ago, I have been a nearly crazed proponent and fan of the HBO series “The Wire.”
It is an amazing, exciting time to be a journalist. I know, I know. That statement runs contrary to the sentiment in the industry. Harbingers of doom are everywhere, and this time of change and renewal in our profession is instead being cast as one of despair instead of opportunity.
It is easy to forget that at its most basic, journalism is not just a public service but a product peddled in the name of commerce. Yes, it sounds strange to say it out loud given our typically esoteric discussions within the Society of Professional Journalists, but most of us work for capitalist enterprises.