One of my co-workers has been asked four times this week how to get in touch with our Congresswoman Virginia Foxx. My answer was to have the callers look it up on the Internet. That would be too easy I think. She pointed out that not everyone has Internet access, to which I responded that there are computers with Internet access available for free use at our local library.
A recent conversation with my Editor John Peters cleared up a lingering question that most people don’t know the answer to. Why is it that reporters are set on such a low pay scale? Sure, we live the glamorous life and get to meet fascinating people that regular folk may not have access to, but we also work crazy hours that most people have to get out a desk calendar to figure out.
John pointed out that back when Watergate broke out, everyone wanted to be Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, which set up a supply and demand problem. For example, let’s just say for every journalism job, there may have been 20 writers vying for the position. This, we believe, is what started the notoriously low pay.
The other point John made is that reporters have to have a knowledge base of every part of society and a skill set that requires a deep knowledge of the English language, not to mention that everything we do has to be done in a hurry. If you were one of those students who put writing your term paper off to the last minute, you wouldn’t fit in here. Most of the time, the event we cover or whoever we talk to will be crafted into an easy to read, informative story by the end of the day.
So I guess that gets me back to my original point — I guess that is why everybody thinks reporters know everything, because we do have to know a little bit about everything. It’s nice to think that we are revered by the public in such a high manner, but honestly, we look stuff up in the phone book or on google just like everyone else.
Mondee Tilley is a staff reporter at The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1930.