Sunday, November 23, 2008

Causes, Causes . . .

A few days ago, I was invited to join a Facebook "cause" calling on people to rally around newspapers to prevent their death.

I admit to having mixed feelings about this cause, because I know a lot of good writers and photographers (not forgetting the ad people, designers, press operators and others) who work at newspapers. But at the same time, I look back on my career at newspapers and wonder why I stuck with it for ten years.

What stirs my antagonism? Some of the people I worked with and some of the people I had to deal with as sources. Sources and other people I had to go to for information were the worst. I had one person who continually lied to me about things he/she was responsible for in an official capacity. I'm sure I committed an offense to bring on the ire, but to be treated this pettily was shameful. I had many others who were thrilled to work with me when I was doing something they wanted. But as soon as I had to ask difficult questions or dared show their pet project in a less than stellar light, I had new enemies. I hated that above anything else I had to deal with as a journalist. I grew to realize that many people are two-faced. Some tried to project that image on me, and I resented that, just because I had to write about their pet projects going sour.

So it comes to dealing with people, then, that drove me from newspapers. I have to deal with people in my current job, but it's in a different capacity. There's a lot more cooperation and collaboration, and a lot more time to work with the same people. We've grown to understand each others' needs, each others' strengths and weaknesses, and that helps me as a writer be a better writer. I'm not saying that there aren't journalists who accomplish this with the people they work with. I know there are many. I worked with a few of them. I just know it did not work for me.

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