One perk of my longevity in the industry is that I get to meet and work with a number of talented, passionate and dedicated people. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been catching up a many of them. Unfortunately, those folks are no longer employed; all are victims of cutbacks in the industry, and some have been without steady work for well past a year.
And that’s a shame, because it’s harder to find people who are more passionate, loyal and dedicated to their work than journalists. They loved what they did, but are realistic enough to know that they may never have another chance to return to the field they loved so much. So they’re hoping to apply what they’ve learned outside the field.
But what I hear is that potential employers, especially in the communications and media relation fields, are hesitant about hiring journalists. I’m not sure if it’s because the negative stereotypes that exist or just not understanding the scope and demands of the occupation.
But whatever the reason, employers are missing out on a real gem if them do not consider folks who have experience with news organizations.
A bit over a year ago, the Poynter Institute’s Jill Geisler listed 10 reasons why you should hire a journalist. I still can’t top her observations, except to say that if a journalist can walk up to a grieving family and get them to talk about the loss of a loved one; or dig through piles of mundane reports to uncover a misuse of public funds, or bang out stories against pressing deadlines every day, then they can certainly handle whatever your clients throw them.
So if you’re hiring, consider a journalist. There isn’t a group of professionals that are more dedicated, loyal, upstanding and fun to work with.
You won’t regret it.
UPDATE: Good news to report on former colleague and Star & Stripes reporter Kevin Dougherty. His rehabilitation form a serious accident while fulfilling a lifelong commitment to walk across the country is coming along faster than anticipated. Daily Herald columnist Burt Constable says Kevin is focused on getting back on his feet, and in true form, refuses to feel sorry for himself, given the bravery and commitment he’s seen reporting from the war zones.