Adventures at WMUA (part 3)

The quest for better, more ethical journalism at WMUA continues, but that’s a post for another time.

This is a “thing n°11 I learned about journalism” that I can’t really justify putting on the midterm: it’s damn hard work.

Not even the going out and hunting people/stories down portion. Just doing aggregate work can take a herculean mental effort. The thing I’ve learned in not even a semester of once a week radio broadcasts is that being able to understand something well enough to say it shorter and in your own words, having to understand an extremely complicted situation you’ve probably only just started exploring well enough to pick out the important facts, or even to pick out which ones can be synthesized into their own little piece, is insanely hard brain work.

I start prepping my portion of Wednesday’s 5:30pm half hour cast on Tuesday morning and don’t really stop until the script is printed. That’s 3 national/world news stories and 4 local stories. And, yes, I’m a rookie, and yes I’m probably going to improve (I’m already faster than I was), that doesn’t change the fact that I get back from WMUA on Wednesday night and I have nough brain power to eat dinner and watch Americn Horror Story: Asylum in the basement with my friends.

Lots of people work on deadlines and synthesize huge volumes of.information, but journalism seems to have that unique combination of deadline pressure (to keep the news timely!), synthesis (you have to give the whole picture woth as.many details and facts as are available), breifness (it has to be to the point and sharp enough and not so long as to lose people’s interest), as well as with the added moral pressure to review it to ake sure it’s comprehensible and fair.

It’s exhausting, put simply. It’s also so grossly fulfilling when you know you’ve done it right (and you can tell), that somehow none of that lost sleep and extra stress really seems to matter. Which is why, despite the fact that it kills me mentally and productively (& my roomate is tired of my complaining), I’ll be back at WMUA next semester.

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