TO BE A JOURNALIST…

 

Being a journalist is probably the second best life I could have chosen for myself—a close second behind a sex goddess rock star in a successful indie band—but sometimes that’s just how it goes. I don’t often regret choosing this field, although in the last few months, the faith in my decision has riddled with self-doubt and frustration.

Journalism is the ultimate lifestyle choice for someone who is indecisive, easily bored, restless for adventure and genuinely interested in learning more about the world and the people that inhabit it. This has always been my thought process, my habit, my experience.

I’ve met some truly amazing and fascinating people in the last few years as a journalist. I’ve talked to musicians like Grahm Zilla and John Oswald about the importance of remix music and the bullshit of corporatizing culture. I’ve talked to Beach House about the joys of late night MacGyver reruns. I’ve talked to scientists who have figured out evolutionary fitness by studying yeasts. Did you know that if all the microscopic bacteria in the world died, the human race and all other life forms as we know it would be wiped out in a matter of days? Pff, yeah.

The joys of music journalism are truly far-reaching, especially when you’ve got a press pass and free rein to film, photograph and meet all your heroes. My memory often takes me to a moment shared with me by colleague of mine, Sarah Berman. She was at a show in Vancouver filming a concert for SPINearth when a girl in the audience shoved her violently, compromising her video capture. On the film you distinctly hear Sarah defend herself, and say “Fuck off, I’m with SPIN, bitch,” making the girl cower and leave the spot. Who wouldn’t work for free with these kinds of moments?

Emily Haines (from Metric) and I, Virgin Music Festival, 2009

I moved to the UK for a few reasons, the main one being a boy, and another that I wanted to establish myself as a multimedia journalist on the international scene. Over the last three months, I’ve applied to no less than 50 jobs with little more success than a promise of an interview at some tentative, future date. Journalism apparently, is one of the most exclusive middle-class professions, with everyone having to pay their dues as newsroom slaves, often working for free and having to kiss up to those at the top. While I’m more than happy to work pro bono for a publication that merits my talents, the latter portion of this right-of-passage, so to speak, doesn’t play favourably for me. My patience for arrogance has completely dwindled. I’m not up for it anymore.

It’s not easy to make it as a journalist. With newspapers and agencies cutting jobs and budgets, with the rise of citizen journalism, the advent of social media and not to mention, the dangers of international conflict reporting, trying to distinguish yourself is a war in and of itself.

That being said, I’m going to keep trying. This is a life I want. Once you’ve made up your mind to walk the earth and document everything you’ve seen, in script form, with poignant nut grafs pointing to some universal truths about the human experience, there’s no going back.

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