24/7 Wall Street recently surveyed 200 occupations to determine the 25 worst jobs in the country.
I was surprised to learn that newspaper reporter was rated third-worst among the least-desirable 25.
I was surprised because I suspected it would be even lower than third place.
As the survey noted, newspapers are losing readership and ad revenue. There is the pressure of unforgiving deadlines and the need to remain balanced in an increasingly polarized and bitter political climate.
There is dealing with negative criticism and even threats, sometimes based on misunderstanding, sometimes based on flawed writing and often reflecting the ignorance of anti-social media.
Also bemoaned was the low median salary of only slightly over $41,000 (obviously the study did not include Mississippi – if I were making that kind of money I would have already been in the Bahamas at least once this year).
And yet people still go into journalism.
Sure, it gets tougher every day as newspaper people try to find the magic formula to deal with that paradigm shift from ink to electronic news and lure back the next generation of potential readers.
But old-style newspaper people believe there is honor to the job they do and that providing
reliable, accurate news makes the community better and improves the lives of people in their community – even if the change may be imperceptible at any point.
It’s an uphill battle, but I stubbornly – and I hope not falsely - believe it will be a while yet before proud parents and grandparents cease sticking newspaper clippings of their kids on refrigerator doors and in archaic scrapbooks. That’s something electronic media cannot replace long-term yet.
And I believe that people who believe in and take pride in their community will value the information we provide.
We will carry on because we believe in what we do and that it has value. Community service doesn’t have to be flashy to be of service to the community.