Monday, December 13, 2010

Dredging Up the Past

It’s now been nearly six years since my exit from the world of journalism. For the most part, I haven’t looked back. A few times, with a few events, perhaps, I might look back over the past five years and wonder how I might have covered that event had I still been working for a newspaper. But those moments were fleeting.

Now – and I fully expect my potential employers to read this if, indeed, I am not weeded out immediately – I’m looking at a move back towards that world.

Not entirely. It would be a move into public relations which, by most accounts, is journalism, but with a corporate entity as the sole client to please.

Am I ready to make such a move?


As I look back at the ten years I spent as a journalist, I have to say that the stories, the people, the events I remember with the most fondness are those for which I basically acted as a press agent – the Idaho International Folk Dance Festival, local school districts, and the like. Reporting generally good news, upbeat news, news that people wanted to read and, hopefully, made them want to participate in the events being featured. If that isn’t public relations, I don’t know what is.

So I prepare myself now for the question: You left journalism for technical writing. Now you want back into a similar industry. Are you okay with that?

Yes again.

I left journalism for some pretty specific reasons. First and foremost – and I’ve never been shy about this – I was burned out. I was tired of being a one-man band, keeping all the plates in the air while the promised help never fully arrived. The team dynamic in which I work well wasn’t there. It’s not that I can’t work independently – I most certainly do. But it’s nice to have a team to chat with, to work with, to rely on. For one reason or another, I didn’t feel like I had that in journalism. I’ve spent time over the last several days looking over my news clippings and thinking, for the most part, that I could do it again, but in a different environment.

So I guess what I’m saying is I’m practicing for that interview, and that specific question, if I’m not weeded out. Hope the practicing isn’t in vain.

I have that now where I work, and I love it. If it weren’t for layoffs, I’d keep on working here as long as they’d have me. But I have to be prepared for the event that I get canned in 2011, so filling out applications and doing a little schmoozing and navel-gazing is a must.

UPDATE: ARRRRRGH! The position has been filled. Now I know how all those nannies felt when they got blown away (literally) just before Mary Poppins got the job.

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