Going into journalism, I had my eyes wide open as I was told by numerous people who wanted to point out what a thankless job it was. They are right of course and I can probably county on two hands how many times we’ve gotten a pat on the back, but that’s not the reason you do it. Of course, it does help from time to time though.
You think you’ve done something super fantastic, you investigated and came up with a really informative news story and no one even acknowledges. But make one little mistake or forget to include something and you hear from everyone. But that’s okay. Once in a while we do get a pat and I will say that Ms. Patti is one of those who tells us how much she appreciates us and we appreciate her for being so appreciative. Since she’s been in this office working at one time, she knows firsthand what it’s like and the hours that are involved. She even helps us out once in a while and that is a blessing in many ways.
This Friday is a thank a journalist day. Of all the days they have this is the first time I have even heard of thank a journalist day. With all the backlash toward the mainstream media, which I happen to agree is mostly fake, we sometimes get lumped in with them.
Are we perfect? Absolutely not. We make plenty of mistakes and most are hard to swallow because they are in black and white. But we own up to them when made aware of them. We don’t always know until months later when someone mentions it and it’s too late to correct it by then.
Newspapers, especially community ones have been struggling for a while now with the rise of social media. You can attend an event and before you even get home, photos have already been posted on social media. You wonder why you even attended sometimes, but know real photos are better than phone photos and that it’s for goodwill and for the community.
We have to constantly change our focus and decide what we need to do in covering things to make sure they are as up to date to possible. This is hard being a weekly newspaper sometimes. But still we talk about it and try to find ways to do stories which are not published on social media.
Lots of time we have to address things posted on social media concerning the local community because they just aren’t true or have been blown way out of proportion. That’s what social media does and that’s something we strive not to do — ever.
While there are other jobs which are even more thankless, I have to agree with those people who tried to tell me that’s the way it was.
But you know, even so, I thank God I’m a journalist. It’s not something everyone can do or wants to do. I have enjoyed many adventures, some hilarious and met many wonderful people that would not have otherwise met if I had chosen another profession.
I have stood up for the people’s right to know more times than I can even count and that is what it’s all about. Taxpayer monies and the way they are spent, is the people’s business and we always follow the money.
Just last week someone wanted to say commissioners in one of the county’s we cover, was lining their pockets with taxpayer money. That is a ridiculous statement. First of all, commissioners do not write the paychecks, they only sign them and it would take quite a conspiracy with county employees for that to even be possible.
Because I’ve covered government meetings for over 40 years now, I can tell you not a single commissioner on either of the two boards we cover, are lining their pockets with taxpayer money. To even say so, shows a person’s ignorance in how things are done.
You can be sure if we spot something irregular or something that does not seem right being done with your money, we are going to investigate to get to the bottom of it.
I will say it used to be more fun and a lot easier being a journalist when I first started and even 10 years ago. These days it’s a lot harder and lot less fun, mainly because of how people have changed. Still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
And you don’t have to thank me Friday, but do be kind to us from time to time please. After all, we are only human. Thank you to all who do appreciate what we do and let us know it.
VICTORIA SIMMONS Is a columnist, author, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org