Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Lucy Morgan, whom I had the chance to meet at the UWF, compared journalism to Public Relations, saying that being a reporter is way more fun than the latter one: “You get to meet extremely interesting people and go to very interesting places. Oh and you might get shot if you’re really good.”
Also, congregating with interesting people and guns is not even the best thing. (What? It can get more fun than that!?) The most awesome fact about being a freelance journalist is that you can work at home. In your bed. Wearing nothing but your pajamas…. Technically. Nobody really does that, of course.
However, merely knowing that I COULD work in my pajamas gives me tremendous satisfaction. But hold on! Before you head out in your pajamas, ready to write an article about the latest city council meeting, keep in mind that the pajama-bonus only applies to phone-interviews you do at home.
- Pajama-rama? If I WANTED to, I COULD!
In order to not become a social outcast when working at home, read Sarah Lindblom’s thoughts on the issue: Frazzled or Fruitful? Is working from home damaging your health and productivity?
But despite these guidlines and the awesomeness that comes with being a freelancer, this profession bears some downsides. In fact, as a journo you’re very likely to find yourself in awkward situations at times. For instance there’s….
… the awkward moment when you head out with nothing but your pajamas on, unaware that the pajama-bonus applies to phone-interviews only.
Okay, we’ve already had that one. There’s virtually no excuse for doing research in your pajamas. Just don’t do it.
But even if you follow the correct dresscode, there’s still…
…the awkward moment when you’re too slow in taking notes.
Some people write slowly. Other people talk fast. When a slow writer interviews a fast talker, it rarely results in a happy ending. More often than not, such an encounter ends up in notes looking like Suisse cheese: They’re full of gaps and unanswered questions. (Note to my Suisse friends: Take that as an allegory. I’m not implying that Suisse cheese is full of unanswered questions.)
As a matter of fact, I’m a slow writer. As if that ain’t enough, my handwriting is illegible. For those of you who are struggling with the same issue: You should either learn shorthand, or go and get an earpiece.
I did the latter one. I purchased an earpiece which, however, inevitably leads to…
… the awkward moment when people don’t realize you’re on the phone because you’re using an earpiece.
I love my earpiece. I couldn’t possibly work without it. It gives me freedom; the freedom of speech (…) and note taking at the same time.
It was one of the first items I bought after starting off as a freelancer. You don’t have to hold your phone when using them. Thus, you can use both of your hands to type your notes on your computer. Now how awesome’s that!?
But there’s one thing you should know about earpieces… How should I put that… They’re INSIDIOUS!!! I strongly hold that there’s a tiny demon living in every earpiece out there. This demon makes the earpiece invisible as soon as you start using it. Well… It’s either that, or people simply oversee it when looking at you.
One way or another, when using an earpiece to take a call, you’re very likely to earn somewhat surprised/shocked/confused glances by your fellow colleagues. They’ll see you and think that you’re talking to yourself – all because that sneaky earpiece is sitting in your ear, enjoying itself being invisible.
So, you have to leave your pajamas at home, decipher your notes and people might think you crazy. To me, being a journalist seems like a darn good way to make a living.