News and sport reporter Adam at a cold football ground (still the best job ever) Pic by @jabberingjourno
This week a survey grasped my attention, one of those top tens of dubious origin so popular online, breaking news that the role of ‘news reporter’ was the least popular profession in the country.
Having just waded through hundreds of job applications for a role right here, it seems difficult to believe that to be true.
I know the job has changed beyond belief as we grasp the digital mettle and there have been many cutbacks and economies made in common with industry across the UK – but I would argue news reporter is still one of the most interesting, if very challenging, jobs you can do.
Though I am little biased.
The image of journalism has undoubtedly taken a battering with the actions of a few on large budget nationals sparking the Leveson inquiry.
But here in local journalism, where reporters battle to tell the local stories that matter in an increasingly wide number of ways, we have always abided by a code of conduct and being local – responsive to the area’s needs.
As journalists we just want to talk to people, to share information (and, yes, to sell newspapers, we are after all not the BBC and publicly funded).
We are a business and we have to sell advertising to survive – though you’d be hard pressed to find a journo who would rather not have a blank page for their work.
The role has changed massively and those who have survived in this tough and competitive business are who have adapted.
A story is told not just in words, but in pictures, in video, in a tweet, via Facebook.
It is fast, can be furious, and can be exciting no matter the regularity of your printed product or the number of unique users on your website.
As reporter you must be responsive to analytics.
Gone are the days of firing off a story because YOU think it’s good.
We respond to local demand while trying to offer something new, different, probing and relevant to our readers.
There are no longer numerous safety net layers of checking – right first time is the mantra – and readers, Facebook users, web commenters are rightly very fast to point out shortcomings (and not always politely.)
We are certainly not in it for the money and definitely not for the glamour.
And it is endless hard work.
But it is still the best job in the world.