thoughts, women

Lessons from a tough journalism experience


Today, I saw on TV a special edition on poverty in my country. They showed working families who have a hard time finishing the month not in debt, poor old people who can’t afford to pay for medical aid, and they also interviewed a young woman who said she studied journalism, speak many languages and got the license to teach.

She was 29, and unemployed.

This is something I don’t understand.

Over the years, I’ve seen many many young students in my newsroom who were there for work experience. Some of them even got hired in my newsroom, despite the dire conditions in newspapers in my country (and elsewhere). But to be fair, not everyone was keen to work for my newsroom, as we’re a financial and economical newspaper. I’ve also seen young people making terrible mistakes and unable to pull an article together.

Yet, for those who were really motivated, it really paid off. Some accepted to work for 3 months in my newsroom with a low salary just to get experience. And it paid off. Even though only one of them was hired in my newsroom, the others did all find a place in another newsroom, but most of the time, it was abroad.

I had a difficult start too. When I finished my studies, there were no place available in the newsrooms. So I accepted to work for a bank, not knowing if I ever go back into the world of journalism. Then, two years later, one of my coworkers said they were looking for a financial journalist in my newspaper. I applied. And I realized there weren’t many candidates for that job.

I wasn’t prepared at all for the job I took. But I was willing to do my best, because I knew this was my chance. It wasn’t easy at all. But nothing is easy and that’s why we should fight.

It was my dream to become a journalism. I’m one now. But I would have never guessed I would be a financial journalist. To become who I am today, I accepted many sacrifices. And if I had the choice, I would have made those decisions again.

So, if you want to be a journalist, be prepared to suffer. It’s a tough job: you don’t get many rewards, there’s a lot of jealousy with other journalists, and the readers won’t forgive you if you don’t tell them the truth. Plus, you can be regularly threatened by the companies you cover for your newspaper.

But it’s a job who gives you an extraordinary chance to change the world, by putting your finger on something that’s wrong, as would say Hubert Beuve-Mery.

Last year, I wrote a piece that made me win an award. And our government has decided to make a hearing on this topic, because of my article.

My experience in the banking sector taught me that every job is difficult now. That’s why it’s important to find a job where you will fight with all your soul.

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2 thoughts on “Lessons from a tough journalism experience

  1. Well said. Anyone who chooses journalism because they think it’s easy is mad. Congrats on the action spurred by your article, and the award! I spent yesterday with a fellow journo my age and we know how hard it is but how satisfying it is as well.

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