Screaming On the Inside

Journalism: The good, the bad and the ugly

Madeline Fuerstenberg

More stories from Madeline Fuerstenberg

November 2, 2020

Journalism can be a really exciting field. It can also be a really exhausting field.

Last week, The Spectator broke a major news story. Since then, we have frantically researched, planned and written follow-ups for the story. We want to get as much information out to the public as quickly as possible.

I love this sort of reporting. There is an adrenaline rush that comes when a news story breaks, to have the chance to write a never-before-seen exposé or flexing those investigative journalism muscles.

But there is also an emotional toll that comes with this sort of reporting. 

It is a lot of work. Reporters will spend hours on end, hunched in front of their computer or over countless documents. They will make phone calls after phone calls, trying to confirm just one piece of information. They read and reread, look for any little error which could ruin all the hard work leading up to when it is published.

This does not even begin to cover the mental ordeals reporters face when covering some stories.

I have seen journalists sacrifice hours of sleep and rest just to get a story out as soon as possible. It is hard not to feel obligated to prioritize our work over self-care, or even school.

Being a journalist also means having to deal with defensive, aggravated or upset sources at times. Sometimes their emotions seem to be directed right at you. I have known reporters who have been threatened, insulted and ridiculed simply for doing their job. I, myself, have also experienced all of those things.

I have been evaded, ignored and straight-up ghosted by sources. It can be hard not to take it personally, but I know it is the journalist they are avoiding. Not Maddie: The Real Person.

On top of all of this, journalists are generally not highlighted in positive ways. We are living in an era of “fake news” and media mistrust. The leader of our very own country demonizes us and refers to us as “the enemy.” 

So yes, journalism can be a very exciting field. But it can also be exhausting, disheartening and stressful. It requires a lot of determination and passion.

I am not saying all of this to generate sympathy or respect. We will still continue our jobs here at The Spectator without either of those things, because the journalistic work is important. 

Yet, can you really blame me for needing to vent on some of these frustrations?

This past week has represented a major win for The Spectator. I could not be more proud of the fine work my fellow journalists did. This story has been a year in the making.

However, there is still a lot of work ahead of us — enough work, in fact, to have me screaming on the inside, stress eating like crazy and falling behind on my homework.

So do me a favor, Blugolds and show your support. Support student journalists and all we do. Remember that our work will not always be perfect, but it will be done to the best of our abilities. Finally, please keep reading out content. So much work goes into each story and we tell these stories for all of you.

Fuerstenberg can be reached at [email protected]