Idealism is a good thing. Until it isn’t.
First, it makes you hopeful. And then, it makes you angry.
First, it gives you purpose. And then your purpose becomes your pain.
Journalism started out being just that. Hopeful, simple, good, purposeful.
Today, it is a confused mass of media scrambling for stories, scraping the bottom of the barrel and far from rewarded for burning the candle at both ends.
We came into this business of stories – real, imagined, relatable – quite assured that they were going to be appreciated, enjoyed and valued.
Valued. That’s the key word.
Because we often purchase what we value.
A favoured bar of soap or shampoo. A favoured bar of chocolate. A favoured drink at a bar.
A book, in fact, is bought before its read, let alone favoured.
Why are we so disinclined to do the same for journalism?
We’ve put a price on ourselves. But how many people will pay the price to have what they enjoy? Or does it become less enjoyable the minute you put a price on it?
That’s unfair. It’s the equivalent of parasitic.
And for all the world has come to, we hope we’re better than that.
Journalism is a service.
Services take effort to produce.
For the ones that aim at being informative, entertaining and spot on, there’s research and analysis and copious amounts of thought, time, energy, teamwork and discarding and reworking.
And here’s the big one: Funds! The vital green that gets things rolling when it rolls.
Every now and then, it culminates into one piece.
One piece that’s worth your time.
Like being in the business of anything, it’s bloody exhausting. (Mind you, that’s a fact and not a complaint.)
And just because it is worth your time, it must be paid for.
Journalists are idealists. Because they want to, as writers, columnists, photographers, filmmakers, reporters tell a story that will make the world better or at the very least get it moving and thinking.
It is not a mistake to think they can.
It is a mistake to make them feel like they can’t.
By making them sing for their supper. A supper that more often than not, doesn’t arrive.
We can change that. Journalism deserves better. At the very least, three square meals a day.
To continue to bring you what’s worth your time.