A new study has come out to say being a newspaper reporter is the worst job in America.
Everybody loves a good list.
David Letterman has made a career out of Top Ten Lists. Everyone who wants to grow interest in their organization makes “Best Cities to Live In,” “Most/Least Fit Cities,” and even “Best Dressed Cities” lists.
Somehow, the subjective and self-promoting opinions of these previously unknown groups really help or hurt our self-esteem.
They say Wichita is one of the worst dressed cities? How do you even judge that? They looked at the number of high-end clothing stores and other subjective means to gather “data” on which to base their opinions.
What if people in Wichita drive to Kansas City to buy clothes? But the goal of that study wasn’t to be objective and scientific. It was to get noticed. It worked. People around Wichita worried about it on social media for days.
Now a new study has come out to say being a newspaper reporter is the worst job in America. The good people at careercast.com (who I’m sure in no way hope to encourage you to look at their website when you are looking for a job) say they used an objective process to make that judgment.
They based their list on things like pay scales, outlook and stress.
People in the print news industry don’t make a lot of money. That is true. It always has been. And reporters do have to do a lot more now than carry a notebook and file a story or two each week like they once did. The industry has contracted over the past decade.
All of those things are true.
So why do so many journalists find joy every morning when it is time to go to work? How can they work long hours and add more responsibilities to their to do list and still stay in the job year after year?
Sure there is stress. But in addition to the long hours, the stress also comes from the desire these people have to make the product they put on your porch every day the best it can be.
That’s why they are in the newsrooms.
Reporters don’t make a lot of money but they do make a difference. A good reporter can make a town a better place to live. A good reporter can entertain, inform and inspire readers.
Being a reporter is a calling. You either stay until you realize it isn’t for you or the press catches you in its web and you can never imagine doing any other job.
I started college as an engineering major. I could make the numbers and formulas work. I can find the area under the curve and determine the force of a volume of water moving through a pipe.
But it didn’t make me happy. So I switched my major to Political Science and Economics. Those were far more interesting to me and I loved them.
I am so glad they led me to a career in newspapers.
I fell backwards into a newsroom about 20 years ago and I was hooked from the start.
The newspaper industry isn’t dying. We are changing, evolving and transitioning into a new, better version of ourselves.
We need those same dedicated reporters who are inspired –and inspiring – to help us become Print Journalism 2.0.
Being a reporter isn’t for everyone. Some don’t want it. Others can’t handle it. But for that small percentage who get it, being a newspaper reporter isn’t only the best job in the world, it is the only job they would ever want.
Kent Bush is the publisher of the Augusta Gazette, the El Dorado Times, and the Andover American newspapers. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org