Why is it that people dislike (and fear) journalists so much? I don't really understand it. We are just trying to get the facts, put everything together and then deliver a message. That is it. Good journalists don't try to purposefully attack people. Now if a person did something wrong and a journalist finds out those facts are true, it is our job to report the truth, even if it is unpopular.
In the past year, my school has undergone two significant budget cuts. So it is important for the school publication to report those facts and figures to the public. I had a lot of trouble getting the administration to cooperate with me during the first round of cuts. It took me a month and a half to get enough information to actually write a story worth reading. Three of those weeks I spent interviewing and getting nothing. No one wanted to talk...or at least no one wanted to be the first person to talk. Long story short, I finally got enough information, wrote the story and now it's done.
Well that is what I thought. The state made a second round of budget cuts on my school in January. Since I am the school paper's budget "expert" (ha ha ha), I was asked to help the reporter with this budget story. So this morning at 8 a.m. I had an interview with the Provost. I've met with him before, and he was the one who made the last story worthy of publication. He gave me all the numbers and all of the facts as it pertained to academics.
So I had a meeting with him this morning, and I get there about 15 minutes early. My appointment was at 8:15 a.m., and when the secretary tells him I am here this is what he does: He looks at a co-worker, and say something about that girl from the paper. And the other guy has the nerve to say something about the "stupid press always wanting something" and then a "good luck".
Clearly I am in hearing distance of this little attack. Mr. Provost turns to leave the office, and he sees me sitting there. He turns a brilliant shade of red and smiles the biggest smile he could muster. He tries to make small talk as we go into his office, and I can tell he is super nervous.
It amazes me that a 40 something year old man is terrified of an almost 22 year old student. And it all because of the power of my pen. I love that. LOVE IT! It is nice to know I scare him because he knows he has no control over what I choose to write down.
Now being the honest journalist that I am, I want to get every single thing he says written down. I try not to get confused and miss words or key phrases. I would never cheat him out of what he wanted to say about the budget...even though his co-worker seems to find my lacking in knowledge.
Well listen up Mr. Provost. I am well versed in the ways of the University budget. I spent hours and hours going over material, interviewing and researching just to get the best information I could. Next to the people in the administration and the reporter from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, I know probably the most out of any other person (with the help of an amazing teacher who translates budget lingo for me).
I didn't come to your office at 8 a.m. for you to crack jokes with your buddy on my time. I didn't take time out of my morning for you to act like that. As far as I am concerned, I have established my credibility as a journalist with the last budget story. So I should be treated with a little respect. Ok. Thank you. I would greatly appreciate a little consideration. I'm just trying to do my job.