Planning my career is something I sometimes wish I had paid more attention to years ago. Not that I would have made a drastic change when I was younger; I know I found my passion early in my adult life. Writing is something I have thoroughly enjoyed and know I do well. But the niche I chose — journalism — turned out to be much less stable than I hoped.
When media companies started consolidating a decade or two ago, I thought it was a bad move. I think I was right. Thousands of reporters, writers, editors, photographers and more were laid off. The internet’s impact is well chronicled, too, so that could have been a second warning sign.
But as someone who thrived under the daily deadline pressures of the news business, I just didn’t want to leave. I still really haven’t, although the stress that comes with daily journalism is much lower now. My freelance clients are not as demanding, so I have more time to produce quality stories. I seem to be on that track, judging by this email I received this week about a story I wrote concerning landfill use and recycling along Colorado’s West Slope:
The editors and others I work with have said positive things about other stories this year, too, so I think I’m still doing what I do best. Of course, that makes it hard to change direction, especially at my current experience level. Age discrimination in the employment sector exists; it’s just nearly impossible to prove.
But I’m over that headache. As I said, I truly love what I do, so why change? I often come across the advice to do what you love and you won’t feel like it’s a job. That’s been true in my case.
I don’t dwell on the past and choices I made very often. It doesn’t get you anywhere and there’s nothing you can do to change it. And I can’t think of any other profession I would rather be in than that of a journalist, a reporter or a writer. Whatever title you use, in my case it fits.
I will always defend this profession and the high-quality stories most journalists produce. There are bad apples in every profession, but I have long believed most journalists produce factual, balanced, well-written content. It pains me whenever someone seemingly arbritrarily lumps all reporters into the 🤮 “fake news” category. That’s just a convenient (inaccurate) label used by a minority of people.
I have always taken the steps needed to verify facts, be fair and include all sides of an issue in my stories. I know what I’m doing and, as I’ve written a few times before, I love it.
So while sometimes I think I might have planned my career a little differently, I don’t regret where I’m at today. I look forward to more stories in the years ahead and will continue to strive to tell them well.