My co-worker Amanda Robbins sent me a link to a 2007 blog post about journalists, with five things you should know before dating them.
I can’t seem to get to it at the moment. Maybe it’s been blocked because it’s made the subject of a class-action suit by all the lonely reporters out there. (“Hey! You ruined my Friday night!”)
But I read it earlier this week, and it was funny. And true, sorta. I’ve found, though, that the stuff I wish were true about it really isn’t, at least for me.
Here’s the summary and what I’ve found to be the real case:
Blog Rule Summary #1: Do not try to hide something from the reporter, like your 47 parking tickets, your ex-wife or anything. The reporter can and will find out.
My take: Yes, to some extent. Reporters are indeed trained to be skeptical about people, to believe everyone has an angle, and to check their sources. That said, I think most people know not to accept other people totally at face value. I also think any Internet-savvy person would at least do a quick Google run on a new beau to make sure he’s not racking up county jail frequent flier miles before accepting a date. And reporters can be blindsided, and often are, particularly by people good at spin. Tiger Woods shagged half the northern hemisphere for a long time before anybody noticed.
Blog Rule Summary #2: We will use you for source material.
My take: Maybe. Depends on what you do and what the reporter does. Certainly we’ll use you for story ideas, blog fodder (how many times does Husband come up in my postings?) and links to other potential stories. But don’t take it too seriously. We do that with everybody.
Blog Rule Summary #3: Reporters hate errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar, will correct you in public and will judge such errors against your overall intellect when you make them.
My take: Well, um, yeah. Except for the correcting in public part; I don’t think I’ve ever done that unless I was talking to one of my kids. And I try to remember that even my father, who taught English for 30 years and dreams of joining the Typo Eradication Advancement League, makes the occasional spelling error. (Never yours truly, though. If I screw up, it was for effect. Like e.e. cummings. So there.)
Blog Rule Summary #4: If it comes down to a choice between you and the job, the job will win. We will miss birthdays, anniversaries, the baby’s first steps, you name it, all in the name of chasing news.
My take: Would that I were so dedicated. I love my job, but if I can take off work early, you bet I will. I turn off my cell phone when I’m on vacation. I do not check e-mail. A boss of mine once asked me (at an office Christmas party, no less) to come in for a couple of hours on Christmas Day just to make sure we hadn’t missed anything major on the police and fire front. I do not cover police and fire, I do not live in town, and I am the only reporter in the newsroom to date who has worked not one, but two Christmas Days. I told him, with all due respect, no, I wasn’t going to do that. And I didn’t. I’m not proud – just tired.
Back when Husband was Boyfriend, and we were edging closer to planning a life together, we took a two-week trip to visit various places we thought would work for the two of us. He fell in love with a blip on the map called Libby, Montana, a gorgeous logging and mining community roughly 80 miles from anywhere. (It’s now synonymous with “asbestos problem,” but that wasn’t something we knew about at the time.)
We talked a great deal after that visit, Boyfriend and I. He would have happily made Libby our new hometown. I balked. I have been a reporter in a town with fewer than 5,000 people, and I know from experience how hard that is. You ARE the paper. Every event, from the mayor’s breakfast to the Cub Scout meeting to the PTA bake sale, is considered worthy of the front page, and even if they’re all happening simultaneously, you’re expected to be there and give them equal coverage. You do the sports, government, business and police beats. You are reporter, editor, photographer and sometimes delivery boy. You never go home. You never see daylight. And you never, ever, get thanked for it; just told to come back in and do it again the next day, and get it right this time or Edna Potts down at the Kozy Kafe is going to blow a gasket and pull all her advertising.
At one time, I was that dedicated. I’ve lived that life. I don’t have the energy for it anymore.
We kept looking. You might have noticed we wound up here.
That said, though, Husband has stopped asking me what time I will be home on any given day. We always have a backup plan for who’s picking up the Princesses. I did miss Little Princess’s first steps because I happened to be at work that day. I have taken many a phone call during dinner, finished many a story at home late into the night. I want my own life, yes, but I want my work life to be worthy of my name, and that means trying very hard to get all the facts, whenever they might become available.
Blog Rule Summary #5: Date us anyway. We are smart and inquisitive and unpredictable and have long years of practice in puns and witty commentary. If we don’t know the answers, we know where to get them.
My take: Absolutely.
I’ll add to that that we have high ethical standards and expect you to have the same. We will look at multiple sides of an argument before forming an opinion. If it can be done ethically, we can sometimes get you in with us, free, to the best seats in town.
But know that many of us don’t spend much time on our wardrobes or makeup, our cars are a mess and we consider Costco hot dogs part of the food pyramid. And we never, ever, have any money.
So go ahead, date a journalist. Marry one, even.
Just don’t say the blogger dude and I didn't warn you.
Well, how was that?? What do u think? Most of them totally like that, but I don't think I was part of it.. Yes, I am a journalist but maybe I'm not good enough 2 be a great & committed journalist.. So,enjoy! :-)