I am a Journalist

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I am a journalist.

I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and a friend.

I can be all of these things.

I can be more.

And I can be all of it at the same time.

* * *

Many of you will be able to relate with me when I tell you that I have been judged because of the profession I work in. It is a sad fact but too many people think they know a person by what they do to earn their money.

The tax man – we all hate paying that evil money-grabbing arse right? The traffic warden – how dare they give us a parking ticket when we were only two minutes over our time? Or the pole dancer – clearly a slut with a substance abuse problem.

So what does that make me?

A hack, ruthless, scum, someone who preys on the innocent, a heartless bitch, third-rate, evil, untrustworthy, or – my personal favourite – someone whose time would have been better spent pursuing a career in the fast food industry*.

These are just a handful of things that have been said to me during the decade I have spent working in the media industry as a journalist.

Two of the most beautiful, creative and kind people I have ever met have been pole dancers. My sister’s boyfriend once spent a time as a traffic warden when he could not find his dream job. As for the tax man? Well I think you have to have a pretty bloody good brain for numbers!

The thing that gets me the most though is that all the awful comments I have received about myself as a reporter have been virtual. No one has challenged me to my face. No one has told me why I am a stain on our planet while looking me straight in the eyes. No one has ever tried to find out more about me, the person behind the article.

If they did then they would realise that I cared. A lot. Perhaps too much.

* * *

“It’s not that I think you won’t be any good at it, I just don’t think you’ve got it in you.”

My twelve-year-old ears struggled to understand what my Dad was trying to explain to me every single time we had this conversation.

“You’re too nice to be a journalist Donna.”

I never did see why this was a bad thing. If anything I thought it meant people would feel comfortable enough with me to open up more.

“You need to have a thicker skin.”

Thanks Dad for the best piece of advice you’ve ever given me. Each and every time I was knocked back in my profession my skin developed an extra little layer. I needed that in my job but I never lost sight of the girl you and Mum brought up.

* * *

Behind this computer, my articles, my interviews, there is a person. I am here waving at you, smiling at you, sharing with you everything I know you will like about me.

Even if you hate every single thing I have written in my career, it does not make me a bad person.

Even when you spot those nasty little errors in my copy, it does not mean the heart of what I was writing about is any less meaningful.

Even if you think the article I have pitched is truly shit, please know that I truly take pride in what I do.

* * *

I am a journalist.

I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and a friend.

I can be all of these things.

I can be more.

And I can be all of it at the same time.

I am me.

*I would like to apologise if this profession was harmed during the making of this blog post. I am secretly envious of anyone who works that close to food all day.

 

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About Donna-Louise Bishop

I'm a freelance reporter and creative writing tutor living in the beautiful county of Norfolk UK. I blog. Wife to Ben, mummy of two young boys. Cake rocks.
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4 Responses to I am a Journalist

  1. Marcy says:

    I worked as a newspaper reporter in the late 80s/early 90s and reading your piece made me think about how I was probably lucky that I worked before the age of the Internet and social media. I am not thick skinned, so I think I would have found it tough to deal with the awful comments you mentioned. They usually had to tell them to my face, at least, which might sound bad, but people seem to be a lot nicer to each other in person.

    • Donna-Louise Bishop says:

      Yes. I think it’s all to easy to trash people behind a keyboard. I always promised myself I would try and be kind to people in an industry which is sometimes known for not being so. Thanks for reading and your feedback.

  2. d3athlily says:

    I wanted to get into journalism when I was younger, and my dad encouraged it even despite my sweet nature. I can imagine the horrible things people say about it tho. They are just ignorant to the truth of the profession. Xox

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