I thought it was bad enough that for three years, the highly regarded Macleans magazine ranked Prince George as the number one most dangerous cities in Canada or, alternately, crime capital of Canada. Take your title pick.
Either way, it’s not good.
So imagine my horror Wednesday night when I found out on King 5 News that the number one worst job is none other than that of a newspaper reporter. Yes, there it was, in a slick colourful graphic, nicely presented, the results of CareerCast.com’s list of good and bad jobs.
Topping the list of worst jobs. Mine. I sat in stunned silence. How can that be?
A glitch in the math, late April Fool’s joke on the newscaster? An error made by their chartered accounting firm – no, they never make mistakes. They were smart enough to take math.
So this was real, staring me in the face. The job of TV newscaster was a little further down the line probably because the salary is pretty good. The King 5 reporter did clear his throat a little and kind of smiled when he got to that one.
So this morning (Thursday) I got onto the King 5 News website and read the following: “News Feed…CareerCast.com has released it’s (sic, should be its) annual list of best and worst jobs for 2015 and the moral of the story is this:
Do study math and don’t go into journalism.”
Well, now they tell me.
This after I’ve spent the better part of my working life running around like a mad hatter every single day, trying to pick out fact from fiction (we don’t want a Rolling Stones magazine news scandal here) and gathering up stories like Easter eggs, checking for cracks before bringing them to the editor and then the pages of the Prince George Free Press. I get tired just thinking about my average work day.
But I love this business.
The reason I caught the King 5 News spot in the first place is that I am a news junkie and no stint in rehab is ever going to change that. I watch any news broadcasts I can find, first at work sneaking a peek at morning news online, then once I’m home, watching most channels of news – Canadian, American, even Chinese and Punjabi stations where I get a sense of what’s happening by the presenters’ gestures, videos and photos.
CBC’s Peter Mansbridge and CTV’s Lisa LaFlamme (who won Best National News Anchor at the 2015 Canadian Screen Awards) are probably my favourite anchors and I watch them, even in the repeat broadcasts. If you watch the news from the 6:30 to the 11 p.m. broadcasts, the same “breaking news” segment gets repeated several times because I guess the reporters have gone home to bed.
No, journalism is not the worst job, it is the best job.
As proof of that, I met for coffee this week with a very nice senior who was the subject of my story on her long wait for cataract surgery. Ruth Keiss had her surgery done in the Lower Mainland a few months ago. Although she’s a pretty good advocate herself, she credits the Free Press story with helping to get the bureaucratic ball rolling and also drawing attention to the growing need for improved wait times for people requiring the procedure.
I had brought along two fortune cookies for us. Ruth opened hers and put on reading glasses she still uses. Now with her 20/20 vision she was able to easily read out loud her fortune printed in very small letters. Before her cataract surgery she could not have done that.
Speaking of vision, my eyes got a little blurry when, after looking again at the fortune, Ruth said, “I think I’m going to keep this,” and tucked the tiny paper into her purse. Newspaper reporter the worst job? Not on your life.
And no survey, annual list or fortune cookie can tell me otherwise.