Opinion — So, you want to be a journalist?


Hannah Jenkins/NW

SECOND THOUGHTS — Me as I question whether or not choosing to pursue journalism was a good idea. While the field of journalism is wonderful in itself, it is definitely not for everyone.

Hannah Jenkins

I have been fascinated by the realm of journalism since my junior year of high school when I took a career prep class. In this class, we were tasked with making a presentation on the career of our choice. I do not remember why I picked journalism for my presentation, except that I have always been interested in writing. 

Whatever the reason, I thoroughly enjoyed researching and presenting on the topic. I took most of my inspiration for the project from legendary investigative journalists — from muckrakers like Nellie Bly and Ida B. Wells to modern pioneers like Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, these influential figures introduced me to both the glamor and the grime of the field. 

Fast forward several years to now, my sophomore year in college. After toying with the idea of several different majors, I have finally settled on journalism — surprise, surprise — however, now that I have reached this decision, a couple of issues have started to present themselves.

For one thing, there is the obvious problem of writing itself. Any writer of any kind will tell you that they have a love/hate relationship with writing. If they tell you otherwise, they are lying to you and themselves. 

Writing can be incredibly rewarding at the end of the day, but the challenges one must face to get to that point can seem formidable at the moment. Words can be surprisingly unwieldy things, often requiring a good deal of wrestling before they come together in the way you want them to. 

Another potential issue I have discovered is the fact that most journalists have to work under almost constant pressure. Can I work under pressure? Sure, if it is the pressure that I have created myself by procrastinating, and even then it is difficult. The thought of having to deal with the pressure of meeting deadlines while also maintaining accuracy every day makes me more than a little trepidatious about plunging into a journalistic career. 

And then there is the point of talking to strangers. As an introvert, I like to approach people I do not know on my own terms, which usually translates to not approaching them at all — for context, I am the kind of person who will pretend I do not see classmates and family friends when I am at the grocery store. This is not a luxury afforded to journalists, whose success often depends on getting firsthand accounts and quotes from witnesses of various events. 

I guess this all boils down to a classic case of facing reality versus the idea of something. Most, if not all careers, are bound to seem at least a little less appealing once you start to get up close and personal with the real work involved. Or maybe that is just my own experience, who knows?

By now, you might be wondering: “Why are you still pursuing journalism? It sounds like you are clearly not cut out for it.” 

The truth is, I am not really sure. Like most things in life, I do not have a good answer and I am just trying to figure it out as I go.

Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is a staff column, written by an employee of the North Wind. As such, it expresses the personal opinions of the individual writer, and does not necessarily reflect the position of the North Wind Editorial Board.