Publisher’s Pen: For the love of the game

Published 10:26 pm Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Journalism is a profession that just pulls you in.

I was an engineering major for two years until I took a Journalism 101 class and a staff writer’s position at the UAB student newspaper.

I can’t really describe its appeal. It’s almost always there. Sometimes, working long hours and holidays, missing birthdays or eating an abbreviated meal thanks to some news event makes every journalist question their sanity.

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Most of us, whether delivering newspapers in the middle of the night, or while being blessed out by some otherwise sweet little old lady who missed her newspaper, have wondered if we were better suited in a different business.

But the answer to those questions lie in the problems themselves. Customers call when they miss their newspaper because they want it.

Advertisers get upset if their ad isn’t the perfect color because they know their potential customers are reading that ad.

Classified customers try to squeeze in that last-minute item because they know if they can just get their item in front of the reading masses, it will sell.

It becomes plainly obvious that when the cynics tell you, “no one reads the newspaper,” that they’re wrong.

My idea of what I thought working at a newspaper was like changed when I actually started working at one. It’s not about discovering the next Watergate, it’s about being vigilant enough in your reporting that you’re able to discover these things.

As a practicing journalist you learn that obituaries are as important as front-page news items and the biggest honor you can have as a reporter is to find one of your pieces on someone’s refrigerator.

The quest for that spot on each of your refrigerators is part of what makes this job so much fun.

– Jason Cannon