I love to write. I love to do research. I love to read. So, why am I not a journalist? Because I love to write, but I read much better.
Seriously, though –
Because your job is harder than mine.
You are given or come up with a topic. You work hard to find the right resources and work out a schedule to interview those resources and gather all the necessary information and make a powerful, informative article that people will want to read. Sounds easy to some, but I know better.
The topic must be something that you are familiar with, interested in, or can at least relate to. Or for those who just have wonderful skills, be able to KNOW how to sponge the information from various research for use in a fabulous paper for print.
Resources can be anyone. Can ramble so badly that you want to shout – GET TO THE POINT, or worse, could answer your questions without really answering your questions. Occasionally the smooth, precise, clear speaker is found, but it is a rarity. (trust me, this I do know.)
Scheduling the interviews – Resources can schedule the interview and change ten minutes before it was to begin, as if their time is the only time to consider, or can start the interview and have to go due to some conflicting appointment after just 5 minutes, or even want to do the interview so early in the morning or middle of the night – just because they can. Others just want to talk to hear themselves talk and can go on and on and on. For these however, many of you have your interview stopping statement to bring it to a close, and are so charming when you use it.
Those items can be tough enough, but what’s worse is when you are interviewing someone who is so arrogant, uninteresting, incoherent, or a double talker. Someone who assumes you know nothing at all, questions your abilities and knowledge and lets you know it. Or someone who said they could help you in your mission for a really good story and you find out they really have nothing at all. For example, you asked about really great marble to use in a bathroom remodel and they talk about port-a-potties. You know what I mean. And many of you are so diplomatic that you find something – anything – this person has talked about in order to say it was not a wasted appointment.
And then there are times the interview goes well. You have what you need and you find that you did the entire 50 minute interview and forgot to turn on your recorder, or it malfunctions during the interview (or after), or your computer crashes and you lose the entire kit and caboodle.
All of this is just the items I can decipher from transcribing your interviews. All of this is what amazes me when I see your final product after publication and am amazed how wonderful it is. Your job is much harder than mine.
I just transcribe the interviews and other material. If I had to deal with just that kind of “stuff” I would probably be unemployed from saying something like “hey, Buddy, do me a favor and just answer the damn question. And while you’re at it, can you pay attention to what you are responding to and stop eating or calling out to your friends who are walking by as you talk to me, and hey buddy – the phone works better when you talk into it. Can you get any closer to the man yelling in the background, I am not hearing what he is so mad about. I was ready yesterday for our 10 a.m. appointment and you changed it to 3 a.m. so how about pay attention to the questions so I can go back to bed.”
Me, I can sit here, transcribe your audio, and smile…better you than me. I will just wait for you to go to print and see how amazing you made the information into something that others can understand and draw from.
That is why I am not a journalist. I am just a transcriptionist, here to type your audio, help you meet your deadlines and watch you take all that hard work you do and make an article worth reading, sharing, and discussing for months and months.
Better you than me. I will stick to reading your articles thus remaining employed.
Make plans to attend the ASJA 2012. Conference in NYC. There you can share other wonderful stories and find ways to deal with the stresses and absurdities of your profession that you love so much.