A Moment of Honesty: Life in a Newsroom

I will never forget my first breaking news story. I can recall the silence before the storm and then the entire newsroom bursting forth in utter chaos. Everybody's voices melted into one. The chatter of radio scanners was followed by hum of the assignment desk hands decoding the almost indiscernible police jargon. The endless chiming of the phones. Press release after press release, call after call, heartbreaking headline after heartbreaking headline. Phoners. Fact-checks. Deadlines. We're not talking about "we need this by the end of the week." No. Our time frame was less than an hour. We had to throw out an entire day's worth of work and get this story in before the 5:00 news. As suddenly as it occurred, it was over. On to the next.

I've been debating whether or not I should even talk about work on here. I won't be talking about what it is that I do exactly, but since news is such a big part of my life, I feel like I should tell you why I chose it as my career. And, I've got some great news: You know how I've been transitioning between careers for a while? Well, I got myself a job, finally. It's so nice to not be in limbo anymore, and it's amazing to be getting paid to do what I love. I'm nowhere near where I want to be but I'm finally on my way and I'm getting closer  as well as learning so much every day. To respect the company I work for, I won't be giving away any details about where I work, but now that I'm finally on the path to my ultimate goal, (and dream) I feel that I should share what it is that makes me so passionate about news. The newsroom is not a place of permanence. If you want a career in which you'll know exactly what a day's work entails, news is most likely not the place for you. I like the adventure. I like the sense of community. I love the ability to tell the naked, ugly truth in a world where the embellishment of facts is expected. I like coming home, flipping on the ten o'clock news and being able to say, "I was a part of this." It's a great feeling to be able to put your name on something at the end of the day.

I never would have considered broadcast journalism as being a part of my future. To be honest, before last fall, I don't think I'd ever purposely watched local news. I'd turn it on accidentally or hear a few snippets after forgetting to turn the TV off after a game or something. I didn't think very highly of it. A lot of sensationalism, in my opinion. My dreams were (and still sort of are) of being a columnist. I wanted to write. I wanted to talk about economics and policy and all of that "boring" stuff. I'd love to eventually be some kind of sassy pundit, talking-head-like contributor on the big news networks, but along the way, I've really fallen in love with local news. At the end of last summer,  I was ready to head down to Washington D.C. to write for a website. Out of nowhere, I got a call for a last-minute opening at a local television station. It seemed like a pretty sweet deal-- I wouldn't have to go through the hassle of moving, I could stay in the city I love and I could begin my career in my hometown. That last-minute shot-in-the-dark turned into a life-changing opportunity and for the first time, I had clarity as to what my purpose in life might be. This was it. I found my niche. Of course being privy to all things that are happening in my city was quite disconcerting in the beginning. It was overwhelming and a bit scary. There is a lot of violence in Philadelphia. There's a lot of bad news and it can get somber quickly. In a newsroom, you have to confront the depravity of human nature as you're looking it in the face on a daily basis. It caused some problems for me in the beginning but after those storm clouds settled, I began to see my job for what it really was. Informing. Sharing. Inspiring a feeling of community. The smiles of terminally ill children who are given the opportunity to talk to the camera. The joy of family members being reunited. The sigh of relief of a family seeing justice in the death of a loved one. It was all  happening in my hometown, the place I live, and I never would have known it. Just days into my first stint on the assignment desk as a lowly intern, my mind was changed. My world was rocked.

For the entirety of autumn, I looked forward to going into work every morning. Now that I'm there to stay, I couldn't be happier. I'm rubbing shoulders with some of the smartest and most genuinely passionate people in the business. I am truly blessed. If you've been reading here for a while or you know me personally, you may know that in a lot of ways, the odds were stacked against me. It really does go to show that you don't have to be unhappy with your job. You really can build yourself from the ground up and take the world by storm. There's always a certain amount of risk involved in chasing your dream but it's always, always worth it. I have a long trek ahead of me but it's going to be a great journey. If the sentiment of going into news has ever crossed your mind, my advice for you is to go for it. Find a connection, be persistent, prove that you want it, and you'll get it.

xo,
e.m.

5 comments

  1. I'm so proud of you and absolutely adore you, you wonderful wonderful girl!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You go girl!! Couldn't help but think about the HBO Newsroom while reading this.

    I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little envious of your life

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It might not be QUITE like that but it still is pretty exciting :) I can't wait to see what the future holds for me and I'm so happy to be able to share all of my little baby steps.

      Delete
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