Contrary To Public Opinion, Journalists Also Cry

Feature Article Contrary To Public Opinion, Journalists Also Cry

There is no denying the fact that there is hardly any profession that exists today that has not got its own share of challenges. It is in the light of this truism that many Journalists accept most of the frustrations they face with seeming equanimity. Any committed and passionate Journalists sees himself or herself literally crying by each passing day. He does not cry like the child that was scolded with a whip or a spank. Any Journalist that knows his or her onions does not cry in a shrill manner like the baby that was deprived of breast milk or denied attention.

Given the foregoing analysis, the germane question for any reader to ask at this juncture is: why would a Journalist resort to crying when he or she is not a baby? The truth is that Journalists cry in a literal sense but not in the true sense of the word. They cry in the course of engaging in their profession, which is news gathering and writing. The reason for this cannot be far-fetched as they are faced with a plethora of obstacles from the point of news gathering that involves attending media events, interviewing people, reaching out to their contacts, stumbling on exclusive stories while on the road to the point of expecting having their works published; which is another ball game as there is office politics in some cases.

Besides the foregoing occupational challenges, many Journalists find it difficult to gather newsy stories or write a byline-getting stories as most of them are usually constraint with finances needed on daily basis to move around in the course of gathering news as the profession has in the last two decades been facing critical challenges and setbacks. Not only that, the poor economy in recent years has not helped matter, as every sector has been compelled to devise other means of survival. Expectedly the poor economic situation has been detrimental to the media sector of the economy resulting to not a few media houses owing their workers’ salaries in arrears.

I am of the conviction that you are still bemused about why any Journalist would be crying in the course of his duties of newsgathering and writing. I must confess that most Journalists are compelled to cry whenever their contacts are not giving them feedbacks. Feedback in this sense encompasses not appreciating the good work the Journalist has done for them as not a few of them have the condescending impression that Journalists are “beggars” and hustlers. For instance, they think they are doing a Journalist a favor, without realizing that it is even the Journalist that is promoting them and invariably making them to be relevant and popular within the economic sector wherein they hold sway. What an irony!

The Journalist, as the hustler they say he is, is always on the streets, in the cyber-café, in the market, in the car, at home with his family members as a watchdog nosing around on where the next news would break from, and even while others are having nice sleep, he is restively jotting down things he was inspired with to ensure that he delivers a newsy report. Given the foregoing, it is expedient to conclude that the Journalist hardly sleeps at night as he intermittently wakes up, leaves the comfort of his bed to jot down any idea that drops on his mind.

A committed Journalist always ensures he has his pen and jotter by the side of his bed. He sometimes, between 12 midnight and 3a.m. takes his pen and paper to the sitting room, having realized that both his wife and children are fast asleep to develop the ideas he has overtime garnered into a meaningful and inspiring piece on critical national issue. A typical Journalist often visualizes and ruminates over a topical issue for days before scribbling it down on paper. Suffice it to say that any published article or news story is first and foremost subconsciously written on the mind of the Journalist before it is transferred to the paper as manuscript. It is therefore not surprising that Journalist cannot but resort to crying whenever they are erroneously advised to quit the job for other job they see as non-fulfilling.

Still in the same nexus, a Journalist is not egotistical as he goes to dangerous terrain to gather news for the benefits of all, particularly as the news he gathers against any societal vice is for the benefit of the people and the nation. Paradoxically, a Journalist is often seen as an enemy by those who often misconstrue his news coverage to be referring to them even when he did not specifically mention names or even when the his reportorial and editorial works are bereft of innuendo.

Not only that, when he reports or writes about corruption, a politician that was not specifically mentioned in the piece would be infuriated without realizing the fact that the Journalist is constitutionally charged with the responsibility of holding him to account if he abuses his office. When he gathers and report news about the evils that are inherent in prostitution, some dyed-in-the-wool feminists will see him as a campaigner against the sanctity of womanhood. When he points out the inadequacies of a political party, some die-hard party loyalists would begin to cry blue murder. When he reports or writes about Boko Haram, kidnappers, armed robbers and any other dangerous sect of people, family members and friends would be angry with him that he is endangering his life. This is the plight of the Journalist. It is because of these frustrations that the Journalist always finds himself or herself crying as he or she is not in any way encouraged for his job or thanked for disseminating information that will sustain ideal democracy.

The most frustrating of all and the reason why most Journalists also cry is when the news report or articles they wished published are not published. Suffice it to say that not all reportorial or editorial works go beyond the wastebasket of the editor. Therefore, it is expected that any aspiring Journalist should be more hardworking and committed to meet the set standard of the media organizations he or she work for. The reason for this cannot be far-fetched as he may not be the only one sourcing for a particular story as Journalists working for other media houses might have broken the news he or she sources for. Thus, publishing such story may be meaningless as it would be considered to be stale. In fact, some Journalists in reportorial cadre may not understand that the editors know about the art of newsgathering more than they do.

Given the foregoing, it suffices to opine that an average editor is both academically and professionally trained in the art of newsgathering and writing, and even understanding the angle a news should take, and at the same time know the legal and ethical implication that are inherent in any reported news submitted for publication. Apart from being academically and professionally equipped, the editor is daily exposed to writings of diverse styles from writers of various backgrounds. The editor knows the right topic to soothe the mood of the nation or the timeliness of any news report or article and understands the expectations of the readers more than the Journalist whose works fall under his supervision. In fact, an editor that knows his onions understands what Joseph Pulitzer said about newspaper when he quotably said, “What a newspaper needs in its news, in its headlines, and on its editorial page is terseness, humor, descriptive power, satire, originality, good literary style, clever condensation, and accuracy, accuracy, accuracy!”

Like an oracle, the editor can easily predict the editorial work that may easily fall into legal pitfall. The editor knows the appropriate words to use in building captivating paragraphs. I see the editor as my mentor, teacher and my examiner. Whenever he rejects my work, I would simply understand that I need to work harder. Pastor Dimgba Igwe of blessed memory in his book, “Secrets of Writing Successful Articles”, says “One thing I know for sure is that editors are no sadists. The truth is that many editors are looking for suitable articles or news stories to print but are despairingly finding little or none suitable for their need.” In my view, why would a Journalist cry over rejection when Ben Okri, a one time winner of the booker prize and J.K. Rowlings, a British writer, variously had their manuscripts rejected by publishers?

Against the foregoing backdrop, permit me to confess that whenever my editorial work, being it a news story, features, interview or opinion article is not published, that I don’t cry as I usually see it as an opportunity to improve rather than seeing it as being rejected or hated.