When I was working as a full-time reporter for a newspaper, I noted several situations that annoy journalists that my colleagues and I encountered on a daily basis. Journalism is a tough universe to be in and those who are making a living within its galaxies and solar systems have learned to fend for themselves. It's exactly what Charles Darwin noted: "survival of the fittest." Read these seven situations that annoy journalists and realize that journalists can be as frustrated like that taxi driver caught in terrible traffic.
1. No Pen as the Interview Starts
This is a major blunder that a journalist experiences at least once in her career, making it one of the worst situations that annoy journalists (because it's our own fault!). I was 17 when I started working as a paid journalist. I was about to interview this well-known furniture designer and when he arrived, I just didn't know what to do. I tried to fish for a pen inside my bag but I couldn't find any. The one-hour interview ended with my eyeliner working as a pen.
2. Recorder Stops in the Middle of a Very Important Statement
And it won't start again! Or the phone, which doubled as a recorder, suddenly declared "Battery critically low." It happened to me when I made an ambush interview of the President's Executive Secretary involving peace talks with a rebel group. He finally gave a statement and I was happy but then a fellow reporter told me, "I think your phone just died." There goes my story!
3. Beating-around-the-Bush News Source
I despise news sources who narrate this long epic story before answering a question and then ends his statement without answering my query. Imagine when you ask: "Sir, do you think this orange is round?" And he answers, "Well I guess there are several fruits that take on a round shape one of which is the apple. But..." Get my point?
4. Editors Who Cut a Story Researched for Weeks
Reporters and editors have this love-hate relationship especially when it comes to the treatment and length of the story. One editor told me, "When you're an editor, you see the forest, not just the tree." I get that but some editors are so mean and deliberately cut or rewrite the story without discussing it with me. Worst part? When a news source calls and says I got it all wrong, and I can't tell him it was my editor who muddled the story.
5. Late Cash Advance or Delayed Reimbursements
This happened to me a lot of times. I was told to submit my cash advance request for a trip. I did it but the money was not released before my flight. So I ended up paying the expenses out of my wallet with the newsroom staff telling me that I will get my reimbursement after the coverage. But it's been three days after the trip and there is still no reimbursement. Downright annoying!
6. Incessant Calls from PR People Asking when a Story Will Be Published
Can you guys just pick up a newspaper and check if the article was published? You are being paid to do that, right? Stop making me part of your daily tasks. Now, I am whining. Peace!
7. Newsroom Runs out of Coffee
I am not a coffee drinker but when a newsroom runs out of coffee, it's the most annoying situation of all. Every journalist needs a caffeine kick to write those stories. A newsroom is not a newsroom without coffee.
There is no easy job in this world. Being a journalist is one of the toughest and most stressful jobs in the world that only those with strong hearts and open minds can endure. Any thoughts on the work of a journalist?