Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Job or hobby?

I realized yesterday that journalism isn't a job; it's a hobby. It's no 9-to-5 operation, and if you try to make it one, you end up spending company time Googling everything you've ever wondered about and then cutting into your own cocktail hour for "that last interview."
Granted, I'd make no qualms about making my hobby my job, but I don't think journalists should keep office hours like at normal jobs. I can understand why editors keep regular hours, and I can understand why writers have desks available, but coming to work should be completely voluntary.
I suppose my system would work in a perfect world, but we all know people wouldn't get the job done if they got paid without coming in. And to think these people are working journalists while the rest of us are just hoping to rub two journalism-earned nickels together after college. . .
These thoughts stem from a dull day at work and a dinner and symposium with NewsHour's Jim Lehrer the night before. There I sat next to a man who got his start at The New York Times.
I said, in disbelief, "The Times? Who starts at The Times?" He gave me a puzzled look, and I explained how nearly impossible it was to just sweep floors at The Times -- even if you were offering to pay them -- much less score an internship or a, dare I say, job. We really amused each other. So here's to the hobby.


Blogger Graeme said...


Where do you work, and when did you graduate USC?

7:38 PM  
Blogger Allyson Bird said...

I'm actually a third-year print student at USC. I just took this semester to intern in Washington with Media General News Service through the Washington Center for Politics & Journalism.

12:33 PM  

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