Journalism is one of those jobs, when you once start and it’s your passion, it’s almost impossible to stop. Everything is a possible news story, something that needs reporting, investigation and letting the public know about. This thirst for asking questions about things becomes very difficult to quench. To the point you’re not just annoying those around you, but that they don’t understand how you think.
At least that is how it feels.
I just can’t help it, and I can’t take of my figurative journalist’s hat. It’s always on. Making me look at things from a journalist’s point-of-view. Even when discussing things with people I think like a journalist.
Which often turns into a conflict.
You see, as a journalist you can’t be afraid of asking tough questions. At a point during an interview you will most likely end up getting under someone’s skin and piss them off. While doing so, you are expected to keep your cool and not lash out if they do. Still, it is important for the interviewee to also keep their cool, as it won’t look good reading the next day that they said some unsavoury words or even threatened a journalist.
It is almost as if you are expected to act like a child that asks “why” over and over again till the parent loses it and yells “BECAUSE!” Then snicker to yourself while thinking, “got ya!”
However, even if I am expected to dig up the dirt on someone trying to hide it, I am still expected to do it ethically and professionally. Not be an arse about it. If I get them to talk, it needs to be on-the-record. Unless I want to be labeled as a sleazy tabloid journo that spreads nothing but gossip and hacks into phones, you know, like the old News of the World mob – giving all journos a bad name [you fucking cunts].
If you call your ISP because your Internet connection has been down for two days, sure, yell on the top of your lungs, call them bastards or what ever pops into your head first. Demand answers or else…
But we journalists don’t have that luxury. We can do it once, and then [most likely] kiss our career goodbye.
Unfortunately I forget that when talking to the commoners and philistines. I push for answers, I dig and still keep my cool.
Not always popular tho.
Which comes with the territory. As a journalist you develop a really powerful bullshit-filter. But it doesn’t just filter out bullshit, it also makes you less patient with bullshit and logical fallacies.
Because as a journalist you have to have your facts straight. You can’t shoot from the hip and think it’s alright. If you lie and get caught, you’re fucked. So everything you write must be, for the sake of your reputation, nothing but the truth – unless otherwise specified. And if someone dares to question your honesty of what you’ve put in writing is something you, as a journalist, take very personal.
In turn our way of joking and blowing off steam is often a bit weird for non-journos. From all the shit we often have to wade through and keeping our cool during a tough interview, or even covering a protest, we develop a rather thick skin. So it’s not weird that some journos often are a bit blunt. Or go a bit crazy if that skin actually brakes.
That’s just a way to cope – avoid going insane.