6 Challenges Of Being A Journalist

6 Challenges Of Being A Journalist

We have to worry about deadlines, last minute edits, and rejection.
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You’re at a news conference tweeting your little fingers away, but then the little box pops up that says, “Low Battery, 10% of battery remaining,” a journalist’s worst nightmare. Other than the struggles of having a low battery while covering a news event, or the printer running out of ink, here are some challenges we face as journalists.

1. Getting rejected

Even after introducing yourself politely, and asking for permission to record, we get shut down a few times. Not only can it be hard to find alternative sources, but it also just makes that person look bad for not giving us a simple comment.

2. The pressure of deadlines

The word itself is just scary. But yes, we have to be able to work before and after deadlines.

AP Style is our bible, literally.

Associated Press is our dictionary. We are responsible for the proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. So before we hit publish, we have to make sure everything is correct.

3. Prioritize your schedule

This can be a challenge for anyone, but it’s hard for the journalist. We have to make sure we have time to email and call sources, schedule interviews and begin working on the story before deadline. And deadline can be in less than an hour, depending on the story.

4. Additional reporting

There are reporters who write the story, but as an editor, our job is to make sure articles are publishable for print and online. If the story needs major adjustments, we have to fix it ourselves, even if that means rewriting the whole story. Even though we might have fixed the whole story, it is still someone else's story, and we have to deal with giving them the byline.

5. Social Media

Other than worrying about what is going in print, we also have to keep up with social media platforms. We have to constantly update our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to keep our readers up to date. It could be tiring, but at the end of the day rewarding.

6. Last Minute Edits

When working on a publication, we have to make sure the names, dates, pages, photos, bylines, headlines, decks, it goes on, are correct and good to go. If we get someone's name, Twitter handles or email wrong, we take it very hard, so we try to make sure we have several people looking at one page.

We also get the, “there are no journalism jobs, newspapers are dying, how are you going to make money writing,” but at the end of the day, we still need news, and who else to report that than a journalist?

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Not My Michigan

A Michigan student-athlete turned Registered Nurse on the Michigan Medicine contract negotiations in 2018.

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It's May 1st, 2016. I'm bright-eyed, eager, and graduating from the University of Michigan as a Nursing Student and Student-Athlete.

I am ready to take on the world the way that Michigan taught me how: fearlessly, compassionately, and wholeheartedly. I bleed blue. I know what it means to be a Wolverine and to represent the Michigan Difference in everything I do. I wear the block M on my School of Nursing scrubs and my Michigan Dance Team uniform well aware that it represents goodness, tradition, and excellence. I am determined. I am inspired. I am ready.

It's Monday, September 17th, 2018. What does Michigan mean to me now? I used to be so sure. Now, I simply don't know. So, what's the deal? How did my view on an institution become so indifferent in recent months?

I chose U of M to start my nursing career because it had the widely known reputation of putting its patients first, respecting its nurses, and providing the best care to patients in the state (5th in the country, to be exact). In my first year, as I was clumsily learning how to push patient stretchers, titrate intravenous vasopressors, and to communicate with the medical team, I proudly participated in our hospital's effort to achieve Magnet status.

When Nursing earned Magnet Status, an award given by the American Nurses' Credentialing Center and indicator of the strength and quality of Nursing at Michigan, I felt that same pride as I did in May of 2016.

I knew in my heart that I picked the best institution to develop my nursing practice and to give high quality, patient-centered care to anyone who walked, rolled, or was carried through the doors of Adult Emergency Services. The hospital's goals were aligned with mine and those around me. We put patients first, and more specifically, we put patients over profits.

I am lucky enough to work at a hospital that has been unionized for more than four decades. When I started working, the concept of a union was foreign to me. For those who may need a refresher, unions promote and protect the interests of all employees. They collectively bargain with employers to secure written agreements for employees regarding pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Collective bargaining agreements are legally enforceable contracts holding employers and employees to mutually agreed-to workplace rules and process to provide a fair and just workplace. The University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council, an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association, has been working diligently since January to bargain with the University of Michigan to protect me, the 5,700 nurses who work within the institution, and our patients. I'd like to think they're the good guys in this story.

Here's where things get sticky: David Spahlinger, president of our prestigious U of M health system, has publicly stated that Michigan is "committed to maintaining current staffing levels," but will not make this commitment in writing. Common sense is reflected in the most high-quality research on the topic of nurse-patient ratios and its direct effect on patient care.

Appropriate staffing allows me and my coworkers to give the quality of care that I know we have the ability to provide. High staffing levels are associated with reduced mortality, falls, medication errors, ulcers, restraint use and infections. Unregulated staffing is a significant barrier to nurses' abilities to provide optimal patient care and prevents Nursing at Michigan from providing what we know to be the Michigan Difference in healthcare.

UMPNC held voting on a work stoppage for unfair labor practices last week. Out of 4,000 votes cast by nurses at the U, 94% authorized a work stoppage in protest of the University's unfair labor practices. No date is set, but our elected nurse bargaining team now has the authority to call for action.

Thank you to Katie Oppenheim, who chairs our union, for reiterating in an article to the Detroit Free Press that a work stoppage is not our goal. "Our goal is a fair agreement which respects nurses and guarantees safe staffing. The university can remedy this situation immediately by stopping their unfair labor practices and bargaining in good faith."

I am proud to be a nurse and I hope that our efforts to keep Michigan a patients-over-profits institution are recognized at the community, state, and national level. Anne McGinity, David Spahlinger, and those who have the power to make Michigan the magical place I once thought it was, make like Nike and just do it. For the love of patients, nurses, and our great University. I know we are better than this.

(Stay Tuned, folks).

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My Mistakes Do Not Define Who I Am

We all make mistakes but that does not mean that is who we are.

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Everyone always says that your 20's are going to be the best years of your life. What they don't tell you is how many mistakes you will encounter or how you will deal with your mistakes. Let me tell you; encountering your mistakes, accepting them, and moving on from your mistakes are probably one of the hardest things you will ever do.

I won't go too much into detail about what my life-changing mistake was but I'll tell you now; it was the absolute hardest situation I had to deal with (and I've dealt with a lot of difficult situations in my life). My mistake was simple as this: I was not honest with my family, I was not honest with my own best friend, or honest with the people around me, but more importantly I was not honest with MYSELF.
I am a huge family person. I have always loved my family and no matter what all I ever wanted was to make my family proud; even if my actions did not reciprocate what I really felt. I thought that putting up this facade of what my parents thought would make them proud and keeping up this act would make everything better. I would come home every day and tell them what they wanted to hear to be proud of me. I kept up with this facade to a point where even I believed I was happy. I even believed that everything would be okay in the end. Surprise surprise; everything was NOT okay.

The facade blew up in my face and nothing was the same but worst of all; my family was broken for months. The saying "Sometimes you have to fall before you fly" well if that was the case imagine a high cliff like Splash Mountain ride at Disney high and I was falling. It honestly felt like I was never going to land. I was so broken and had no idea what to do or how to go about my life anymore. It was to a point where I just felt empty inside and close to a point where I wanted to harm myself to feel something and to stop crying. My best friend who was still by my side regardless of the facade I had put up had emailed me this when I felt like all hope was lost "In the end it will be okay, if it is not okay then it is not the end" and I was finishing up "Me After You" (which by the way is a great book but I'll post about that another time) and I read "you don't have to let that one thing be the thing that defines you".

After reading that line I decided to take life into my own hands. I have been given a new start. A chance to do everything my way and not worry about what would make my parents happy but what would make ME happy. I decided that I was not going to let the past define who I was. I was not going to let it define my future. After sitting down and figuring out what God had wanted me to do, I prayed and I prayed hard until one day it all hit me like a whirlwind. I volunteered for VBS, I finally said yes to becoming a Core Member for my church youth group, I said yes to going back to school for nursing (maybe even a minor in business), and I said yes to taking my life into my own hands and studying what I am passionate about.

Now, don't get me wrong; I still want nothing more than my family to be happy and to be accepted by my parents. But, how am I suppose to accept that my family will be happy and proud of me if I am not happy or proud of myself when I have been given a chance to start a new chapter in my life? How am I suppose to believe that this second chance is a chance for me to change if I don't believe that I am worth something more than my mistake?

It is okay to want your family to be happy and be proud of you; as long as you are happy and proud of yourself first. It is okay to make mistakes in life; as long as you don't let them define who you are. In the end, it will all be okay, if it is not okay then it will not be the end.

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