The conflicting nature of journalism

By Andru McCracken


If you enjoy conflict as part of your work, you should consider journalism. It’s a rewarding career that many people feel makes the world a better place, but it’s especially great if you enjoy butting heads with people.

If the first thing you think when you hear someone talk is, “that sounds like a pile of BS,” you get it. Journalists get to check facts, dig for information regardless of how others feel about it.

In fact the rule is this: the stronger someone feels about you digging, the harder you dig.

The more they cover up the harder you try and blow the lid off the thing.

It’s not a perfect system but it works pretty well most of the time.

Journalism is one of those jobs where you challenge individuals, corporations and societies in the interest of the collective.

In the same way prisoners often plead to their captors and torturers, people often try and persuade me not to do your job.

“Nothing happened.”

“This is private.”

“Please don’t cover this.”

My response is simple. “No.”

If you are the age of majority, there are simply no exceptions.

If I’m asking about something I will do a story.

Fight me, work with me, your behaviour determines how I do my job, not whether I show up to work.

If you run a program, an organization, a company, a government or a service I’m going to do a story on this thing

I’m asking you about.

Sometimes people want to do my job for me.

“Print it exactly like this.”

 

“We need to see this before it goes to print.”

“I want to proof it.”

My response is the same, “No.”

I’m not even arguing that I do my job without serious errors. I try to avoid them, but they happen. Regardless, I still have a job to do.

Sometimes people will go so far as to say why my job isn’t necessary. It’s similar, I imagine, to being a bylaw officer, a

building inspector, a policeman, a parking meter attendant, a tow truck driver or a CIA agent at Abu Ghraib torturing an inmate.

People will make a long list of reasons how my job hurts people. Sometimes it is true, journalism can hurt people. So does sunshine.

I’ve often thought it would be good to clearly state the many reasons that journalism is a critical force for good in the world, but I don’t feel like doing that.

It is outside my job description to convince you journalism is important and I’ve already got way too much to do.
I do my job because it’s my job.

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