Friday, January 05, 2007


I have been looking for new jobs in the fields of public relations/communications. I am not giving up on journalism, but I need to expand my job skills because I don’t feel comfortable putting all of my eggs in the journalism basket. Here is why:

Reporters are paid shit. From what I understand, even at decent publications, reporters still don’t make much compared to what people make in the corporate world. I am not sure why that is, but that’s how it is.

It’s not like being a reporter is an entry level job that doesn’t require a university education. For example, at my current job as a reporter I have covered some important stories. I have interviewed significant figures in Wisconsin, and written about state politics during this past election season. Reporting certainly takes skill. One must be able to write, obviously, but reporting requires much more than that. You have to write FAST. Every day there are looming deadlines; multi-tasking is par for the course; research skills, investigative skills, fact checking—all are a must. On top of all that, your byline goes out on top of every article you write. If you make an error, or if people don’t like what you wrote, you get an earful on the letters page. You have to have a thick skin. And there’s more. You have to have people skills. You have to learn to coax some people to divulge information. You have to be aggressive and think fast. Sometimes you have to keep your cool in the face of truly psychotic people, which is not easy—see here.

None of the above bothers me. In fact, I like the pace of work; I like the deadlines; I like it all, especially composing the stories and writing cleaver leads, etc.

But I get paid—after having received a raise four months ago—a paltry $11.70/hour. It’s embarrassing to admit. I earned more as a waiter in college.

The paper only gives me 30 hours/week. Tack on about 10 hours for my commute and I’m basically busy with work 40 hours/week, full time. Yet, I am unable to make ends meet. It’s stressful.

And so for now I am looking to enter the field of PR for practical reasons. A) I need to earn more money to dig myself out of a widening pit of debt that is accruing thanks to my current salary, and B) I need make myself more marketable in the job market, as stated above.

This doesn’t mean I’m giving up on journalism. I’ll always have the skills I have developed and if I can manage to earn more money, I’d like to do some Michael Totten-style reporting down-the-line. My dream is to go to Iran and see for myself what the heck is going on there. A Jewish citizen of the Great Satan goes to Iran… what will he find?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do Iran, mate - it could be your ticket to fame, fortune and fabulously fit females.

You could visit the grave of Hafez in Shiraz.


12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PR work sucks too, you know. Ask my friend Sean. He'll tell ya. Although if you're good at it, it doesn pay better than what you're getting now.

Hell, do both.

'Bout time you updated.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant, DOES pay better. Jeez, I can't type.

10:53 PM  
Blogger semite1973 said...

I'm intersted in PR not so much because I believe it will be more interesting than journalism (I don't think it will) but primarily because it will make me more marketable, give me more job options.

4:01 PM  

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