Learn to understand your journalist friend

Rewon Shimray | Cartoonist

We journalists are a different breed, not at all like the typical human you may interact with on a daily basis. Some of us may come off as overly skeptical or even negative, but it is just how the industry has made us. In order to bridge an important gap between journalists and the rest of the world, we are going to address exactly what makes us different and why to expect our behavior.

You should never be afraid to share rumors with your journalist friend. We are trained to know what to do with sensitive information, particularly to follow up and thoroughly investigate news. As journalists, it is our job to seek out the truth, and we won’t publish anything unless we have it confirmed from multiple sources. You should not feel scared to share the information or rumors with us, just know that we are bred to find the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Don’t be surprised when we bombard you with follow-up questions to make sure we know the situation inside and out. For example, if you told your journalist friend that a fight happened outside your building, he or she is not going to let you get away without telling them how you heard, who was involved, why the fight occurred, what was said and if anyone was injured. It’s OK to share information with us, we actually prefer it, just make sure you are ready to volunteer more information, whether we are going to make it into a story or not.

While journalists may not seem like the most overtly positive people, we are not so much cynical as we are skeptical. There is a fine line between these two terms, as being a cynic means you’re actively rooting for something to go wrong where as being skeptical means you are looking to see if something did go wrong. At our core, we are the ones looking for the fire when everyone is seeing the smoke. Therefore, we aren’t going to take things at face value. You can tell us rumors all you want, just be aware that we are going to be skeptical of not only the rumor itself, but also the source of it. We have all witnessed the “fake news” phenomenon of the past decade, and journalists are even more diligent in looking for all our information, no matter how trivial it may seem. Don’t see us as overly negative people; see us as the thorough professionals our career calls us to be.

Due to our undying search for the truth, we are often burnt out at the end of the day or the end of a week. This is where we find common ground with non-journalists. As college students, we are all doing exhaustive work on top of social lives, outside organizations and career searches. Sure, it is never healthy to be under copious amounts of stress, but we have learned to embrace that pressure. In fact, it feels extremely foreign to us to have a night free from work or to afford the opportunity of an afternoon nap because, as we all know, the news never sleeps. Therefore, we always have to be ready to get to work. Even with how labor intensive some other white collar careers can be, they usually don’t have the issue of being called into work all the time. This can also manifest in journalists using their phones more often than others, either to check on breaking news pushes or to communicate with fellow editors or reporters.

In some ways, you and your journalist friends are the same. In other ways, we can seem like a totally different breed of human. That’s because we are, but that is okay. We are all passionate about our careers and whatever lifestyle that results in. So whenever you can’t stand the constant questions and the seemingly endless stress from your journalist friends, just remember that they are just acting according to their nature.