Why I decided to quit journalism

I thought I had it all planned out

I always thought I was “the lucky one.”

I was the kid who, in fourth grade, knew what she wanted to be. I felt like I had a crystal ball that showed me my future, and in that future, I was a journalist.

My journey started in fourth grade when my elementary school began a news program. It progressed into anchoring for my middle school and high school programs.

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My teacher of my media class in high school even pulled me aside one day to tell me I needed to go to college for broadcasting. It was a really encouraging moment, and I felt like it was a sign I was doing well enough that I could make it in the industry.

When it came time to apply for college, I knew Temple was a top choice. It was close enough to home, and it had an amazing broadcasting program. I was sold on the first visit, believing that I was stepping into my city-bound destiny.

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I dived head first into broadcasting when I got to Temple. I starting working at Update Now, and I had ambitions to be the anchor my first semester. I had more practice and knowledge of the equipment then the other students, and I had been broadcasting for all my life. When the auditions came around, I stepped up the blinding lights of the stage and took my seat.

In the middle of my audition, I didn’t feel well. I was also more nervous than usual because I knew this was a real moment that could define my future – sadly, I massively flubbed my audition.

Something like this had never happened before. However, little did I know it was the exact blessing I needed to get out of journalism. I don’t think I would have realized it for a while if my audition had gone well. I would have wasted away my time in a major that I want nothing to do with.

The business side of every job is something college kids have to discover for themselves. No job is perfect – however, the business side of journalism (specifically broadcasting) is brutal. It’s all looks and connections based. It’s a who-you-know industry that really isn’t based on talent. The competition is also really stiff, and the people are willing to step on you to get to the top. It’s a Machiavellian perspective to the max.

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The ends have never justified the means for me. I believe in respect, dignity, and kindness. I realized that was not the industry I was in, and I am lucky to have realized that quickly.

After my epiphany, I took to writing for an organization here on campus. I have always loved writing, and the association incorporated my love of writing with hard news. However, the business side also proved to be too nasty for me to be a part of.

I wrote stories that were written for mass audiences. That all seems fine and dandy, until one day when readers become the only driving force behind writing. The audience is important, but keeping sources and respecting the people in the story also matter. News can be beautiful and informative if done right, but it can equally be explicit and trashy if done wrong. I did not feel comfortable exposing intimate details of people’s lives just to get more readers. I wanted to maintain a good relationship with my sources, and I wanted them to enjoy the article as well.

I wasn’t finding that everyone felt the same way, so I stopped writing.

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