A long time ago I had an editor named Gene Lehmann who told me that I wouldn’t make a lot of money as a journalist, but that I would never work a day of my life.
He was certainly right on the first point.
Journalism isn’t a big money racket for the most part … unless you’re Bob Woodward. Or a comedian pretending to be a journalist on the Comedy Channel.
At least you don’t have to pay for your pens.
On the other hand you get to work lots of hours. And weekends and holidays. Any time that other people are off there is usually something to cover.
And with social media and blogs, even tiny markets like Henderson County, Texas believe in a 24/7 news cycle. So you’re always on call.
You’re always trying to stay one step ahead the politicians, the competition, and even the readers … that is, you are if you want to be good.
The truth is the news cycle never ends. I didn’t take 24 consecutive hours off in all of 2014.
And yes, I’m tired. Sometimes very tired. But I’m also very happy.
I get to be the guy who reunites lost dogs with their owners. I announce big events and record special moments. When there is trouble or danger in the county, I know there will be readers looking in my direction for information and clarity.
I get to walk the sidelines at football games and walk into the offices of the most important officials in our county. People I don’t recognize smile at me and say, “Hey, you’re the news guy!”
I’m the news guy, and I wouldn’t give that up for anything.
So turns it turns out Gene was right about both points after all.
Because if I had to I would probably do it for free.