Dear angry journalists, don’t get me started!
There’s been plenty of attention lately about the Angry Journalist site, including a pretty good overview by Steve Outing on E&P.com. If you haven’t seen Angry Journalist, I suppose you should check it out before reading on, but the name pretty much tells you what you’re going to see. It’s sadly predictable. Better to just read Outing’s column and get some context.
Speaking as someone who has spent over half of my life proudly working with journalists, and sometimes labeled as one myself, I’d like to make a suggestion to the poor souls who count themselves among the Angry: Life’s too short to be spent so miserably.
If you’re an Angry Journalist and you’d like to be less so, please consider:
- Journalism is a profession, not a priesthood. You’re not a journalist unless you’re working for someone else (who signs your paycheck). And you’re not much of a journalist unless you create something that an audience wants.
- Ever heard this? “They still haven’t figured out how to make money online.” Tell that to Google. Draw an audience and you can make money. As a journalist, make it your business to draw a bigger audience. Become an expert at it. Need ideas? Read Howard Owens regularly.
- Be a rebel. Go talk to an ad rep, or a marketing person, or customer service rep. (You know — somebody you’re not supposed to be talking to.) Ask what they’re hearing from customers, what they like and don’t like. Here’s the hard part: don’t shrug it off — act on it.
- You’re not the victim of someone else’s screwup. Take responsibility for turning around the situation at your newspaper or TV station. In other words, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Literally.
- Be humble. Starting today, decide you know nothing about what people want to read/know/watch. Make it your business to find out.
If all else fails and you’re still an Angry Journalist, please, go do something else. Free up that FTE for someone who’s not so, well, angry.
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