Over the past few weeks, I have learned about safety and ethics when it comes to being a journalist. And I discovered something that I had never realized, let alone ever thought about. When someone becomes a journalist, it means more than just a profession, or something you only have to worry about 8-5 on weekdays. Journalism is a way of life.
It’s almost frightening to think that my job could possibly put me in danger. My teacher showed examples in class of journalists who had hate mail sent to them, and others who had been stalked and beat up, or even killed, just because there was one crazy in the world who for whatever reason became obsessed with the broadcaster. My teacher also has talked to my class about taking extra safety precautions, like making sure your door is always locked and making sure you are not being followed. In addition, he mentioned getting a security system for our home or apartment.
Currently, I probably don’t need to be following all of these guidelines at this point in my journalism career. But, I need to seriously consider these once I land my first job and begin to get my face out there. Essentially, as a reporter I will become a local celebrity in whatever town I am working in.
And along with safety, I also have to consider the way I act in public. One of the examples given in class is that if my picture were taken in a bar, that could have negative ramifications, even if I am drinking legally and have had only one beer. A photo wouldn’t be able to explain that I was there meeting with a friend. Everyone in this business is under the microscope, because again we are local or national celebrities.
There are also consequences beyond just the personal aspect. A broadcast journalist also represents the station they work for. If I were to get in any trouble, the station could suffer a hit in reputation along with myself. I had never considered any of the potential consequences of being on television when deciding to go into journalism and become a broadcast journalist.
I found that over the past few weeks I have kept asking myself “Is this career worth it then?” I have to say yes it is. I believe that as long as the right steps are taken, negative consequences can be easily avoided. I just need to make sure I am aware of my surroundings and to not put myself in stupid situations.