The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Not just another free speech post

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When listings of the most stressful jobs in the world are made, the list is usually topped by active volcano inspector or involuntary suicide bomber.

Somewhere in the top 10, journalists find a spot. The job is so stressful that France (yeah well, it's still a valid point I'm making) requires journalists to have the most vacation time as required by law. The most.

Journalists also appear on top 10 lists for things like alcoholism and stress-related health problems.

It's a stressful job, in case I haven't made that clear.

So now comes this ... idiot. yes, I realize I'm breaking my own rules about insulting people, but if you ain't a journalist (old journalists never die, we just meet a last deadline), then you really don't know what you are talking about.

Sara Gilnes.

According to my admittedly brief research, she started her career in the newsroom, but didn't stay there long. She scooted into management pretty quickly.

And, as is typical of this kind of promotion, she completely ignored (forgot, dumped, whatever), what it's like in the newsroom.

Lemme make this clear. Journalists swear. I, an ordained minister in two denominations, swear.

I've heard people, every single one of 'em is NOT a journalist, say such language is the sign of a small vocabulary.

My reply? A string of epithets threaten to truncate the otherwise sesquipedalian stream of polysyllabic utterances I am normally capable of. My words could curdle milk, congeal blood after exsanguinating said target and remove from the supporting structure water-soluble-adhesive-backed panels of synthetic or natural materials imprinted via offset press with a variety of designs.

Yeah. Limited vocabulary. Every journalist I know is a walking thesaurus. And you thought the thesaurus went extinct millions of years ago. HAH!

Swearing, as science has proven (you can look it up), does make things better. Especially on deadline with things going wrong.

Word slingers swear. Get used to the idea.

We also drink. I beat the caffeine monster a few years ago, which makes my brethren-in-ink stare stupidly at me when I mention it. Yep. No coffee, Mr. Dew, energy drinks etc. Limited chocolate intake too. I regularly wish to resume my habit of mainlining chicory-enhanced Louisiana coffee, but has thus far forestalled the urge.

We also drink adult beverages. Yep, I imbibe occasionally. Feel free to judge me all you want to. I have yet to see a real newsroom where there was no "emergency snake bite medicine bottle" stashed somewhere. Sometimes ya gotta have a chemical relaxer periodically.

A lot of us smoke. An erstwhile college galfriend got me started. I did quit, but I admit when the deadline monster is slavering down my collar and the press shop is yelling, I could probably light and smoke one to the filter in a couple of seconds.

We've got other "bad habits" according to the people who decide which habits are good and which are bad. It's a pressure relief valve. A lot of the time, it works. Unfortunately, it's not perfect. Journalists also rank high on the list of suicides.

Why are we so stressed? Stress is another way of saying pressure and journalists are under extreme pressure all the time. Deadlines never end. People lie and we get blamed. Honest errors result in monster lawsuits. We're simultaneously vilified, excoriated and sainted. The list goes on.

So why do we do it? I can't explain. Not won't, cant. If you're not a journalist you cannot understand. It's like being a real mom or a real dad. If you are one you understand and you can't explain it. If you're not one, you can't understand.

1 comment:

  1. No one understands... but quite possibly, no one on earth would continue to use their brain cells if it were not for journalists. :P Thanks, Ben!

    ReplyDelete