The blog explores the realities of working in the competitive media industry and the challenges faced by new entrants.
When I joined University of Management and Technology (UMT) in 2014, I was used to my comfort zone. My way of living was a stable 9-5 one, but the degree I chose to pursue was contrary to my lifestyle. Being a journalist is a ‘cool-new’ today, given the abundance of media platforms that are offered.
More and more universities are now offering journalism degrees because it has become a larger-than-life industry. It’s fascinating to see TV anchors and newscasters grilling people in power with tough questions. ‘This is what I want to do too,’ is what we feel like when we see them.
But what appears on a TV screen is only the glamorous part of the story. There’s a whole lot of struggle behind all the lights and cameras. Journalism is not an easy job, and definitely not a 9-5 one. Having worked in 2 different media organizations, I can confirm that.
And that is what one should keep in mind when pursing a journalism or Media and Communications degree. That it is a demanding job. That it is not a white-collar but a blue-collar job and demands heavy mental and physical labor.
But that’s not the only con of being a journalist or an aspiring professional in the field of media. You’d be under huge amounts of pressure to meet deadlines, live up to the expectations, and if needed, work some extra hours for absolutely no monetary compensations in return.
I remember working 2 consecutive shifts on Election Day last year.
What’s worse is that you wouldn’t even get a public holiday e.g. you’ll be working on the Independence Day, on Eid days, on Defence Day, and on any and every day. During some weeks, you’d even be expected to work 24/7.
But that’s the interesting part.
Each year, thousands of media students graduate from hundreds of universities from around the country to compete for the tens of thousands of jobs being offered. There are also a number of internship opportunities that are offered during which aspiring journalists work for months without pay. They do it simply to live something they have worked so hard for.
So if you really want to be a journalist, and if that is what you have always dreamt of being, you’ll have to go through rigorous training. You will have to push your limits, broaden your horizons, but most importantly, you will have to be gritty. There are thousands waiting in line to replace you, so you will have to develop a superior playing field and sacrifice your leisure hours.
You will have to understand that journalism is not synonymous to leisure. It’s in fact, quite the opposite.
Therefore, if journalism is in your blood, then prepare yourself for the worst case scenario for the best possible results. It’s going to be a roller coaster ride, but one that only takes you higher if you persevere and don’t quit.
But if you prioritize a leisurely 9-5 office job that does not demand as much sweat and frustration, there’s still time to opt for a different field.