To be or not to be?

modern journalist

Image Courtesy: Royston Cartoons

It’s been five months I started working as a professional journalist. I felt lucky when I landed my present job just before graduation. To think I’d only applied for work experience at this network, made the offer too good to turn down.

But Decemer is approaching, a time when people gear up for the new year, often by switching jobs. This calls for evaluating the industry in which we work. Here I reflect on my short-lived career.

Ups of being a Journo

It’s a rewarding experience to be able to give voice to people, who otherwise will not be heard. I did a story on the abuse of illegal migrant workers, who couldn’t complain to police for fear of persecution.

Opportunities to meet and know people from all walks of life, including celebrities. I am passionate about sports and my first assignment was interviewing Bangladesh’s Aussie cricket coach. I would’ve been over the moon if my talent (interviewee) weren’t such a down-to-earth fellow!

Free entries into exclusive events. Have covered the war crimes tribunal for an online media.

When one does beat reporting, s/he becomes wise in their respective beats (topics). This could lead to other opennings. In Bangladesh, many journos (even young ones) join expert panels on TV. Not surprising when there are 20 stations looking for expert opinions.

Many people tend to identify media jobs as glamourous, and have certain respect for journalists . Personally I am yet to find any glamour beyond the pages of fashion mags. However, this popular notion often gives easy access into people’s lives.

Downs of being a Journo

Nosy! yes that’s what people think of us. Even I find some of my fellow colleagues interfering. This interference vs info gathering can be a very sensitive issue for journos covering trauma.

Pay is bad, often deffered. This ultimately affects the quality of reports we present.

Freelancing with a few agencies could pose potential conflict of interests, especially while practicing pr and journalism together.

Tight deadlines and unrealistic demand from editors/producers can burn one out and leave him/her feeling low at times.

It can be dangerous, especially in places with records of human rights violation. In Bangladesh, journalists and bloggers have been persecuted by both terrorists and security forces. Tasnim Khalil’s blogpost was an eye-opener.

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2 thoughts on “To be or not to be?

  1. I have passion for journalism. I work as a contributing journalist for a major online news agency. However, I don’t think I’ll ever take up journalism as my profession as long as I’m in Bangladesh. I have plans to move abroad which is very unlikely to happen. But if it does, I’ll then look for opportunities to work as a journalist. I know this profession sucks while you’re in Bangladesh.

    • Thanks for your comment Sajib. The media has become corporatised everywhere. A serious concern for Bangladesh is the absence of a watchdog body which can monitor bias and unsubstantiated news, as well as corrupt practices amongst journalists that deteriorate the credibility of the whole profession. Despite all these odds, I think its a great profession, more so in places where freedom of speech is restricted.

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