In the Words of Media Workers


The transcripts of interviews with media professionals from different countries are pouring in - so it is an exciting time! Today I am reading the in-depth interviews sent to me by students from the Journalism & New Media program at Leiden University, The Netherlands (disclaimer: I am a consultant there) - excellent stuff. They have interviewed journalists, public relations-officers, webmasters and game developers.

Here are some (translated) quotes from the different interviews that caught my attention, and hint at the direction my book for Polity Press is going to take:

- About getting into the media industry

"It is difficult, there are many people that want it too, of course, and it is really hard to get into an established order. In The Netherlands, newsrooms tend to be apprehensive regarding newcomers, and prefer to rely on people they already know or employ." (F, photographer).

- "I started working at [a Dutch national newspaper, MD] in 1994. Where I was asked by the managing editor: "If you want to get rid of your wife, you have to come and work for us." I didn't want to get rid of my wife, but accepted the job anyway. It is was of course very macho what he said, but it is honest too, because it is really vivacious and addictive. He was right about that.” (M, newspaper journalist).

- About keeping a job in the media

"I have a contract for a year, so... and it is a new daily, so you of course don't know exactly how things will work out [...] But let's say that my contract would not be extended, so I would be back on the street, looking for a new job. But then I could say I worked for this news site, and would have something good on my resume which may improve your chances on a different job. So it is not easy to get a steady contract." (M, online journalist).

"Well I started [online, MD] as a freelancer, which has its pros and cons. Right now I am just regularly employed here, and I am really enjoying myself, it is actually better than freelance because you also have contact with colleagues, and you can talk things through together, be critical of each other, brainstorm together, those kinds of things. You are much more, you have a bigger pool of knowledge and more perspectives instead of when you work as a freelancer." (M, TV reporter).

- About working conditions

"Hmm...I do work overtime a lot. At least, officially, when I for example work from 7AM to 3PM, I guess I could go home, but I end up working another two hours more or so. But it's not like I have to. And once a month I also work a weekend, and keep track of the news from home, and when there is really big news I have to put it up on the site of course." (M, online journalist).

"You know how much fun it is [to work as a woman in a man's world, MD]? You can really use that to your advantage... No, I'm kidding. It is just a lot of fun. I do not see it as a man's world at all. Come to think of it, most people I deal with are men. But that does not bother me at all, men are really easy to get along with. There are more women that act difficult then men." (F, webmaster news site).


Great stuff, indeed! Thanks to the wonderful interviewers: Jeanette, Renate, Manon, Sanne, Janny, Vincent, Ben, Leonie, Quintin, Gemma, Aafke, Juliette, Esther, Gea, Sabine, Lydia, Nurdjana, Clio, Alexander, Fleur, Kate, Kirstin, Sascha, Chantal, Jos, Mirre, Karolien, Michiel, Amir, Constantijn, Ellen, Liza, Jolanda, Nina, Sandra, Lesley, Rianne and Thijs.