It’s 4:50 PM. You’re the 5 o’ clock lead. 

You’re an hour away. It’s been a day, indeed.

Computer is slow. Palms are sweaty. 

Two stories fell through. You’re craving spaghetti.

Haven’t eaten since breakfast, you’re lugging gear in the heat.

In the middle of nowhere, to find a man on the street.

He declines to talk, says ask my neighbor.

You’ve begged, pleaded, said do me a favor.

Then you get a call, as news breaks.

A fire or shooting, a fatal mistake.

5:05 arrives, you’ve somehow made slot.

The adrenaline rush wanes, you’ve avoided a clot.

 

This is just one iteration of a day in the life of an MMJ. If you’re not familiar, an MMJ is a multi-media journalist or one-person-band who shoots, writes, edits everything on their own. It’s a job with constant hurdles and challenges.  After spending nearly 3 and a half years as an MMJ, here are just a few things this job has taught me. Maybe it resonates with you…

1. How to be cool as a cucumber under tight pressure deadlines.

2. How to prepare for any and all weather conditions.

3. How to not take no for an answer…or how to not give up hope someone will eventually say yes.

4. How to console families grieving after a tragic loss.

5. How to sell your only pitch to be approved as a story.

6. How to not let perfect be the enemy of good.

7. How to budget money and time.

8. How to find common ground with anyone.

9. While difficult, good journalism is still vital.

10. This job is not about you. Journalism is about serving others. You can make a difference by telling stories that matter.

11. To celebrate good days and learn from bad days.

12. Self care is important – make sure you eat, stay hydrated and watch out for your safety.

13. How to have a plan B through Z and if not, come up with one on the fly.

14. Writer’s block happens to everyone. It’s not the end of the world.

15. It’s ok to be nice. Help out another reporter. Chances are you’ll need help one day.

16. You are your worst critic. Stress less. This job can be fun if you allow it to be.

17. What is sleep?

18. You learn a little bit about a lot of things.

19. Listening is key. Sometimes there’s a better story worth telling than the one you thought.

20. White balancing, overshooting, writing concisely and everything you learn in school actually helps.

 

 

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