Being a journalist sucks, but it’s what I want


Christian Vasquez , Web Editor

The pay is crap and we are increasingly expected to do more and more, to finish work faster and faster, with less mistakes and more context.

The hours suck. Your whole life is literally bound by other people and whatever newsworthy things they do.

I’m just a student journalist and I can’t tell you how many road trips I missed or terrible decisions I couldn’t make because I was busy working. The idea of a regular schedule is laughable. I don’t know what I’ll be doing by the end of today, and god forbid I make plans for Friday.

The expectations suck too. Be a professional photographer, be a professional writer, be able to take and edit video on the fly, be a social media guru, be able to work with mass amounts of data, memorize this giant dictionary of rules called the AP Stylebook—these are all things that are routinely expected of us.

And of course we can’t expect to be hired as professional photographers on top of all this because the industry can’t afford actual photographers, but we’re expected to be just that good!

We can’t be wrong, otherwise, we’re “fake news,” we can’t be right, otherwise we’re “shaping the narrative.”

Honestly, sometimes it feels like the only thing we can do is get insulted. Every paper is either a liberal shill or a right-wing Nazi. I’ve talked to good honest people who are convinced I’m getting a degree in world domination.

Seriously, what other job requires someone to go to an event with zero knowledge of what it’s about and expects them to write an accurate story, complete with video and photos, two hours later? That’s just stupid. It’s even more stupid when you remember that a journalist’s job is to inform the public.

Granted, most of these problems aren’t because of the profession. Most of these issues are because journalism is, in essence, for the public good, and capitalism does not thrive in those environments.

Our profession is trying to stop people from being screwed over, so money is sparse, to say the least. The internet requires that publications do more with less.

So maybe I shouldn’t say journalism sucks, but being a journalist right now does. Of course, most of us know this. I don’t know anyone who thinks they’ll get rich with a journalism degree.

But the fact that I wouldn’t want to do anything else sucks the most. Seriously, why couldn’t I love engineering or web development?