A former journalism colleague of mine, who still works in a print newsroom in a provincial capital city, once told me that earning a living as a reporter was “better than driving a truck.” Well, yes. It’s also above garbage collector, janitor and part-time K-Mart welcome lady. But what does that say about journalism – the alleged profession that may be peopled by escapee taxi drivers?
At the moment, in Canada, journalism is really only a craft and the craft, in my view, is in decline. Newsroom budgets are shrinking. Newsroom body counts are down. If you’re not typing, you’re not working. But journalism, before “PR” burst upon us, was about making contacts and getting accurate and un-spun information from newsmakers. But it’s easier, and a hell-of-a-lot cheaper, to retype press releases the owners and their managers will tell you.
I wonder why anyone would spend hard-earned money to go to journalism school to learn how to retype press releases or, eventually, sell their soul and become a “business communicator” which is known to reporters as becoming a “PR flack.”
Flacks, on the other hand, say journalists have a “shitty” outlook on life, things positive and good news because their retinal arteries are wired through their anal orifices. Hey, the Little Woman used to be a Business Communicator. It makes for a great relationship.
Trucking is at least honest.