So much strange & crazy

One journalist's musings about the beautiful, bizarre world in which we live

Your depression is my dollar.

It’s hard for me to reconcile to the fact that I make my living off of other people’s misery.

Sure, there’s the occasional “feel good” story. But those are soft news pieces, relegated to page E2 because no one really cares. They’re rarely considered real news.

I just found myself laughing outside, complaining that the incoming storm didn’t look like it was bringing a tornado or any kind of wreckage. I often find myself secretly hoping for the bad things, things for which only a journalist or a tow-truck driver would ever wish.

Disaster, you see, makes a journalist’s life easy. There are certain people to whom you can go: victims, those trying to help the situation, those hurting it. The pictures speak to people, meaning more people read those articles.

I was recently told that I am, essentially, an emotional trap artist. I make people feel safe enough to tell me things, things I use to hurt them later.

I guess I use this in my work, too.

My job is to betray. I smile (with eyes as well as mouth). I make people feel comfortable. I want them to tell me their deepest secrets so I can put them on display, so I make them feel safe enough to let me record these things.

Undoubtedly, some people want to share. They want to talk to the media to get something off their chests.

These are rarely the stories that I like telling. I want to get under people’s skins. I want to make them laugh, cry and shiver. I want to know the down and dirty behind each person and share that with the world. And that’s how I want to make my living.

Some days, I just feel like a terrible person.

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One comment on “Your depression is my dollar.

  1. Tony Brunjes
    July 27, 2010

    You can’t possibly believe you (and tow truck drivers) are the only person who survives on human misery, do you? What would be the point of a police presence in this country if we didn’t need them? Recently they seem to have found ways to “make work” but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be there.

    Take what I do for a living. Please!!! My job, too, is to deal with misery… and not necessarily take misery away, judging by the amount of passion most people have towards keeping their coinage in their pockets at my expense (prying from cold, dead hands comes to mind). Honestly, if I volunteered to do this job, most people would take that at face value and never ever even offer me a glass of water while I was working. They don’t care if I survive, just so long as they get what they want. But, as you said, not all stories.. or people.. are the same. There are a small percentage of them that appreciate what I do.

    So don’t feel too bad for the misery most people have in their lives. 95% of it is self inflicted through ignorance anyway.

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This entry was posted on July 9, 2010 by in Journalist Diary and tagged , .
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