Thursday, September 02, 2010

I'm so mono begging to be stereo

Today I was told by my journalism professor that to be a journalist one has to be aggressive.  To be a successful writer one must be balls out and take no prisoners and be cut throat, and all of those other adjectives to describe a complete asshole.  I immediately was terrified because I may be the least aggressive person in the entire world.  Although naturally curious by nature I am not the one to go out of my way to talk to new people.  In fact I'm more inclined to do the opposite and stand int he corner and observe until someone deigns to speak to me first.  I never want to interrupt, or speak out of place, or be presumptuous.  It's just not in my nature.  I don't want to step on any metaphorical toes. 

It got me thinking that maybe I'm doing it all wrong.  Maybe it's not enough to just love something, or to have a mild amount of talent for it.  Temperament is important, drive is important, maybe I don't have enough of either of those qualities.  Maybe there is some job out there that I'd be more suited for. 

I've never tried pottery.  What if the first time my hands touched clay I made the world's best clay pot?  What if I am a pottery prodigy and never knew it?  I could be the worlds best clay pot maker;  and how will I know whether or not I am if I've never tried?  How will I try all of the things out there before I decide what it is that is meant for me.  Is there anything out there that is meant for me? 

What if I can't be aggressive, or what if I have no place in a newsroom?  What if I look horrible in business attire?    What if no one wants to come to lunch with me?  Will I be expected to buy an iPad?  What if I can't reach deadlines?  What if I don't measure up? I am terrified that I will be the worlds worst journalist.  Will I graduate with a degree in Journalism only to be made to write up obituaries for the rest of my life?  Will I someday have to take a job as editor of the Thrifty Nickel?  What if I am the world's worst journalist?  Do they offer some opposite of the Pulitzer prize, some Razzie of the newspaper world?  Will they create the award just for me so that everyone knows that I am the worst writer to ever grace the crinkled first page of some small local daily? 

I feel like it's already started and I am no where near graduation.   I've been assigned to write one article a week.  Find a story, find an interview, write it up.  I'm already nervous.  I've already begun to spin.   I know that I am spinning because that is what I do.  I spin out of control so fast that almost no one can keep up with the bouts of crazy radiating off of me.  Has anyone as ridiculous as me ever gone on to be successful in this field?  Do you have their number? 


Nomad said...

Sounds like lousy advice from the prof.
You certainly have to be curious. You have to have a sense of empathy and deep sense of right and wrong. (You seem to have that already, Jordie)You also have to understand human nature, for all its good and bad qualities. Contrary to what your dear wise man told you, I think being aggressive will come naturally if you really enjoy your job.

In any case, the way you walk into a job isn't not the way you will be a year or five or ten years later. Don't think of life as a photograph.. think of it as a film.
(Yeah you can quote me!)

Give it a try. If you don't like it, don't worry, there are many branches you can later specialize in.
By the way, check out this, when you get a chance.

bathroomslave said...

I think your prof is a moron. That's exactly what's wrong with journalism today.

Reporters have absolutely no integrity, just like the rest of the media. True journalists who are passionate to their core will want the truth to show the world, but not expose people who don't deserve it. There is a healthy balance. I think you will find your niche and fit perfectly. Don't worry =)