A couple or so months ago, one of the suggested pages that I should like on Facebook was Stuff Journalists Like. Nothing like catering to me, eh Facebook. It's a satirical blog about journalists and journalism. But the page in particular actually interested me, so I added to my "liked" groups, music, movies, etc. Many of the posts I can actually relate to, or they're just plain amusing.
Case in point, one of the posts from Stuff Journalists Like was 15 things you have to do before you can call yourself a "real journalist." They were:
1. Write a 15-inch story in 30 minutes.
2. Have a meltdown in the restroom at least once.
3. Replace two of the major food groups with coffee and liquor.
4. Own your own police scanner
5. Eat in your car more often than you do at a table.
6. Get fired for no good reason.
7. Forget what it's like to have a weekend off.
8. Being told off by a source (or an editor) (actually I can't really put in what the page actually said, bad words and all, you know).
9. Wake up in a cold sweat thinking about tomorrow's edition.
10. Be accused of stalking a source.
11. Can no longer read a story without scanning for typos and errors.
12. Conduct an interview while in a towel.
13. You tweet in AP style.
14. Rip into a spokesperson on the phone.
15. Couldn't imagine doing anything else.
Yeah, I've experienced a few things on the list, but I haven't done all 15. Guess I can't call myself a "real" journalist quite yet. Deadlines do make one write a 15-inch story in half an hour. It can be nerve-wracking, and you can just feel the adrenaline pumping as you're trying desperately not to spell anything wrong and hopefully using correct grammar as you're furiously typing away. I don't drink coffee or liquor, so my substitutes are Mountain Dew and chocolate, especially plain M&Ms. I don't eat in my car all that much but judging from the current mess it's in now, it kinda looks like it does. My Jeep is mainly filled with the mail I grab as I'm going out the door as I'm heading to work, books I've bought at the library, newspapers (hazards of the job), assorted papers, sale flyers, whatever have you. I've had a few meltdowns in the restroom, kicking a stall door or something in frustration. And on more than one occasion, I have woken up worried about the next day's paper. Sometimes it's why I can't go to sleep right away. Or have dreams about work. Luckily, I do get two weekends off a month, so I haven't totally forgotten what it's like to have a weekend off. But even on those off weekends, I will think about work. Being a news editor who prints out a copy of pages to read them for errors, I even tend to see ones in Associated Press stories that have even more editors.
But I don't stalk a source or rip into a spokesperson on the phone. I'm just too darned nice. And I definitely haven't had the opportunity to conduct an interview while in a towel. I kinda think it's the interviewee who's in the towel, but it wasn't worded that way in the list.
There was a quiz recently posted on the page asking "what beat reporter are you?" Tons of quizzes have popped up on Facebook, thanks to Buzzfeed and other sources. The questions for the quiz are pretty random - pick a time (listing various times of the day), what radio do you listen to (with such selections as NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, ESPN and This American Life), what does your desk look like, favorite late-night show, etc. At the end of the quiz, I'm given the result political reporter. That is so not me. So I took the quiz a couple or so more times until I got the result I was looking for - feature reporter.
There's usually a daily amusing tidbit on Stuff Journalists Like. It's not every day that you see the headline "A rampaging Australian pig drank 18 beers and got in a fight with a cow." Later on in the day, the update on the pig was its untimely death after getting hit by a vehicle.