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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why?

A close friend and I got into a recent discussion of what I do for a living-- fires, accidents, homicides, storms, etc.  "Sleeping in" means staying in bed until 2 AM.

I've been threatened.  I've been in brawls.  People have taken a swing at me.  And, that's just in my own newsroom (insert rim shot here).

I tried my best to explain it, and even though my friend is extremely intelligent, I don't think she got it.

Then, I saw this entry on one of my favorite web sites, TV News Grapevine. 

It explains it all-- perfectly.

In no particular order, here are the absolute best things about working in television news:

1. The "front row ticket" to life. You get to rub elbows with celebrities, people who run the country, the most interesting people on the planet. You have a lifelong backstage pass while others pay big bucks for front row seats.

2. Working weekends. Your friends will feel sorry for you, but if you've never done it, you've missed the pure joy of a mostly empty building with no managers around. You can relax, turn the scanner down from an ear-splitting level, throw a frisbee around the newsroom or a football around the parking lot. You only have to dress from the waist up if you're an anchor, as the "weekend anchor collection" might include a suit jacket, tie, cut-offs and docksiders with no socks.

3. Photogs. 90 percent artists, 10 percent psychologists, these guys should wear a cape as they seem to have superpowers. They can fix a viewfinder or a carburetor, find anything without a GPS, and know what you're thinking before you know it. They have the most pride of any group in the news business, are the most loyal, and weren't born with the backstabbing gene. They can become true friends for life.

4. Newsroom camaraderie. If you're in a great newsroom with nice people, your life can be like an episode of Friends every day. It's like having a second family.

5. Orphan Holidays: When Thanksgiving and Christmas roll around and you're a thousand miles from home, you can feel depressed. But the holiday orphans always get together to celebrate and create some of the more memorable holidays ever.

6. Working with creative, smart people. The news business does feature some dim bulbs, but for the most part you're working with the smartest people on the planet. All with a seriously warped sense of humor.

7. You never watch the clock. How many people in other fields can say that? Your day goes by so fast it doesn't feel like work.

8. You make a living, and this isn't even a real job. Seriously, you tell stories for a paycheck!

9. Breaking a big story. The pulse goes up and suddenly you're a kid on Christmas morning.

10. Changing the world with a story. Imagine, showing up for work not knowing what your day holds and going home knowing you've saved or changed a life dramatically. Doctors do it all the time, but we can do it with words and pictures instead of a scalpel. Nothing, and I mean nothing, feels better than this.

In spite of a lot of ups and downs, I have to say I've been extremely lucky.