Guest Post: The Moment I Knew Journalism Wasn’t For Me

This post was written by @KDorau21(Kyle Dorau). Though, he isn’t a journalist, Kyle’s journey isn’t one to miss.

“Will you just shut up and make the best of it!?”

My photographer Ed apparently had enough of my tantrum on the T entering Boston. To say I was sour about having to spend my weekend covering the Women’s NIT (catch the fever!) would be an understatement. His reaction put me in my place, and rightfully so. But it was a great wakeup call in recognizing that I wasn’t cut out for the life of a journalist, even in sports, which has always been a passion of mine.

Very few people get to cover exactly what they want to. To break into the journalism business, you have to be willing to do anything, and that’s a huge commitment. A town beat, while a great way to make a name for yourself and break into the business, just isn’t for me. If I ever had to attend a city council meeting to report on a parking referendum for a Farmer’s Market, I would throw myself out a window.

The job of Sports Editor at the CCSU Recorder fell into my lap. I knew a few of the members through journalism classes, but never really talked to them much. One day, the Editor-In-Chief at the time asked me to cover a CCSU Ice Hockey game. I obliged, and got a fairly sizable game report as my debut article. The following summer, there were some staff changes, in which I was asked a number of times to join as the Sports Editor. Trying to balance school, a part-time job and other responsibilities, I declined several times. Until I learned that I would get paid. That changed my mind fairly quickly.

I was an awful Sports Editor. I lacked the work ethic, professionalism, and quite frankly, talent that the job required.  I was often too intimidated to ask questions of Men’s Basketball coach Howie Dickenman that had any insight. My meeting attendance was virtually nonexistent, although that was an aspect that I negotiated during my recruitment. A nice perk for a college student with a social life, but really a negative in terms of advancing one’s career.

The lack of interest in attending meetings was indicative of why I wouldn’t make it in journalism. I wasn’t willing to make the sacrifices necessary. Reporting requires guts, the ability to think on your feet, and an intangible gift that not too many people have in order to be successful. It’s not that I’m lazy. Quite the contrary. I’ve done my share of manual labor and earned my paychecks. On a related note, this washed-up journalist-turned-building materials salesman can get you a GREAT price on drywall. Let me know.

My time as sports editor wasn’t as negative as I’m making it out to be. I made some great friends at the Recorder, got fantastic seats for sporting events, and it paid handsomely for what it was. I think anyone heading to college that’s even remotely interested in writing should join their student newspaper. But if you’re thinking of it as a career path, I caution you to be aware of moments like the one I had en route to Boston University.

You don’t get into journalism for the cash. Honestly, I probably make more money now than most of my friends who do it professionally. But I would also be willing to bet that most of them enjoy their jobs more and are more passionate about what they do. At times I miss journalism. But I know it’s not for me. And so do all the people sitting around me on the train on that day in 2009.

Don’t forget to check out my reaction tomorrow!

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5 Responses to Guest Post: The Moment I Knew Journalism Wasn’t For Me

  1. BrittanyEBurke says:

    i agree with kyle on the whole town meeting thing! one wallingford town meeting and i wanted to poke my eyes out with my pencil

    • I understand where you are coming from completely. And that’s the town where you’re from. Now, imagine it’s a town where you know NO ONE and you have to come up with three stories for the next day from that meeting.

      It’s not for everybody.

      Jonathan

  2. Pingback: It’s Not about the Cash « Just Starting Out

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