8 Struggles Only Journalism Majors Understand

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1. There are no holidays.

Everyday something newsworthy happens in every journalism beat and each story has added value to it as time passes. That includes national holidays, days when most people don’t have work and have the leisure to relax and do whatever they please. Journalists don’t have that luxury because important news stories usually take place on holidays that usually ends up being the top story of most publications. The worst thing about working on holidays is writing about how most people got to spend theirs.

2. Coffee lost its magic.

A journalist’s intake would be on an average of 2-6 cups a day. Coffee is literally part of your diet and it can undoubtedly replace water in your life. But having it regularly has made your body immune to the effects of caffeine and no longer helps you fight sleepiness. For a brief time, you turn to energy drinks or alcohol, until your body lets coffee’s caffeine kick in once again.

3. You hate yourself for being a grammar hypocrite.

Admit it. There are rare occasions when you have lapses too. Either you mispronounced a word, used the wrong subject-verb agreement, or typed ‘you’re’ instead of ‘your’ or vice-versa. You then feel an unexplainable embarrassment that it’s quite automatic for you to blurt out other people’s grammatical errors but here you are, still falliable to the rules of English too. Naturally, you want it to be corrected immediately, hoping no one else noticed but you. However, if it has been published on print and made permanent, you just want to slip into a cave where you would spend the rest of your life in.

4. People don’t pay attention to detail.

Most people tend to look at the bigger picture and base their actions and lives on it. But you’re different, as a perfectionist, you hate it when people overlook details, little things that you know would make a huge difference in the long run. It may be because you’re used to memorizing statistics, making each change in the number significant for you. Or maybe because you’ve witnessed things happen several times and you’ve figured the pattern out. Whatever it is, people just don’t tend to things the way you do.

5. You have to act desensitized.

You’re covering a sports game and your favorite team is playing. You have no choice but to cheer for them silently, restraining yourself from jumping out of your seat whenever they score points so you won’t appear biased while you’re on the job. You also have to act as if interviewing one of your life changers is no big deal, with autograph signing and photo opportunities withheld until you finish your job professionally. On most occasions, journalists tend to appear as if they care less but that’s just because they’ve learned the art of poker face and detachment.

6. The pressure of deadline writing.

Writing is a hobby, passion, and job for you. Sometimes it’s an advantage, but sometimes the stress just takes on its toll. Being passionate about it makes you want to take time and write it as perfectly creative as you can but you have a deadline to meet. Internal artist struggles will make you wish you have more time, knew more words, or had the ability to get rid of a semi-writer’s block immediately. After a coverage you probably have less than 30 minutes to let everything that happened sink in, do the story, and pass it to your editor as soon as you can.

7. You feel like you have writer’s block even if you’ve been writing as much as you breathe.

It’s normal for journalists to feel like they have a writer’s block and still come up with an output to pass. But the writer knows that the quality of work has been compromised because one is not writing as they should be – with inspiration, witty arguments, and maybe a more creative lead. Readers won’t notice it, but the journalists themselves know that they rushed some articles with a dry line of thinking, half-baked ideas and were merely created because it was needed.

8. You need a ton of skills besides writing, and none of them are inborn.

There are a lot of journalistic skills: note taking, interviewing, lead writing, choosing quotes, determining the angle, applying the inverted pyramid, summarizing three game stories to five paragraphs, etc. All these are taught inside the classroom and learned in the actual field. If you think writing is the only talent you need to survive this profession, you are wrong. It’s the most important foundation, but it requires you to be equipped with a bunch of other things that are not easily gained overnight but are developed and improved through time and practice. You keep learning, unlearning, and re-learning these skills every day on countless occasions. TC Mark

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