Ever since I was in 8th grade, I wanted to be a reporter.
It was an easy choice. I like to write, I am naturally curious and I hate math!
The Columbia Journalism Review recently reported that reporting is considered the worst job in America. Had that been written during my college years, it would not have affected my career choice at all!
I worked hard for my journalism degree at Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, which was, at the time, among the top ten best. It probably still is.
I knew the competitive difference between me and the other wanna bees was publishing clips. And publish I did, having my own column in my hometown newspaper while a high school student and getting my first paid freelance gig during my sophomore year at OU.
My career move from journalism to public relations has been more lucrative. I still write articles on occasion because I still love the art of the dig and my editors know it. They tell me it is hard to find old-fashioned reporters who are willing to work hard. And I still cannot resist the thrill of the chase, finding answers to the tough questions or a getting the exclusive. Journalists have always understood branding. Their byline is their brand. (If you want to see my latest articles, please visit Work Samples.
Public relations folks with reporters’ battle scars instinctively cut through the bull. We are friendly skeptics for our clients who ask the tough questions. We instinctively know what readers want to read. And personally, I continue to produce materials that would pass objective journalistic standards. It allows me to maintain my integrity while helping my clients build credibility.
Reporting is the worst job because it is very stressful — deadlines, ensuring accurate information, and sorting through agendas — and it does not pay well. We always say we do not pay our teachers enough but journalists, the educators of current events, make less and generally lack union representation.
At the same time, journalism is a very rewarding career. As the great historian Paul Johnson says, (my paraphrase) the journalist is the historian of the present. I have had the honor of watching the workers’ compensation industry evolve and improve. Soon, I will be writing about the history of workers’ compensation since my nearly 25 years in the insurance industry. In the meantime, you might enjoy the article I wrote for John Burton’s Workers’ Compensation Policy Review called, “The Evolution of Integrated Benefit Delivery Systems in the United States.”
Be kind to the journalists you know, they have the worst job in America.