We get it, as journalism majors, we’re notoriously nosy. Our homework is to ask strangers questions and pester people to talk to us. But that doesn’t mean we don’t get annoyed when people repeatedly ask us the same things. Breaking news, non-journalism majors: being a student journalist isn’t easy, it doesn’t pay super well and no, we don’t like being compared to Barbara Walters. Here are 25 other things to say to journalists that are a bigger faux pas than confusing the New Yorker with the New York Times (like seriously, get it together math and science majors).
1. Do you even have to study? Journalism seems so subjective.
Well, my friends, since you asked, we actually have to study a little thing called the daily news. Unlike other subjects that have been developed and practiced over decades and even centuries, ours changes every day. And there’s also a little thing called objectivity that finds it’s home at the top of the journalism code of ethics.
2. So you don’t even have textbooks?
Imagine there was a book that taught you exactly how to walk and talk. This is the AP Stylebook and it’s basically our bible. After reading that front to back, you could write your own textbook…with your eyes closed.
3. But journalism a dying field.
Things are going to happen. We need people to tell us that they are happening. Boom, perpetual job market.
4. Journalism is so easy. All you have to do is write.
Ok you caught me, I don’t know the difference between interphase and metaphase. Special relativity will always be a mystery to me and what even is the Pythagorean theorem? However, I’m here to tell you that journalism teaches you more than just how to write well. You learn how to communicate, how to research, how to think outside of the box and essentially get a better understanding of the human condition. Also, press passes. I mean, c’mon.
6. You must not be in it for the money…journalists don’t get paid well.
When did Debby Downer come along and deem it impossible to make a living doing what you love? We may not score a posh pad in the East Village as a fact checker for the Times, but we have the ability to work our way up in the industry, and executive editors are known to make up to six figures. The fact of the matter is, journalism majors don’t go into the profession so they can roll in the dough, they do it because they have a passion for telling people’s stories and sharing them with the world, ok?
7. Will you edit my essay for me?
Yes, because it makes us feel better about ourselves. I may know nothing about business administration or engineering, but at least I know the difference between “your” and “you’re.”
8. You write for the school paper? I didn’t even know we had one…
9. Journalism seems like a useless degree.
What are you, like the scrooge of print media?
10. Why would you want to write for a print publication? Everything’s just online now.
Ever opened an old book at the library and gotten a whiff of the glue and the binding and the ink? Or picked up a new magazine at the book store and felt the glossy pages on the tips of your fingers, or smoothed the creases on a crisp new newspaper as you enjoy your morning coffee? That is why print will never be obsolete.
11. You should write about [insert trivial topic that would make the worst story ever]!
Literally no one cares about the hard-hitting news of the burrito place down the street closing early on Sundays.
12. Interview me!
I would if you had anything interesting to say.
13. Do you like to write?
Oh you’re a business major? Do you like, want to work at a business or something?
14. What do you want to do?
Ok, fine we’ll give you the honest scoop here if you promise not to judge us. We hate hearing this because we don’t really know the answer. There are a million directions we could go in with a journalism degree. There are more possibilities than there are publications, which is both daunting and exhilarating, so cut us some slack.
15. Oh, I don’t think I’ve ever met a journalism major before. That’s interesting.
16. Are you going to correct my grammar?
Please stop talking now.
17. What do journalists even do?
Have you ever, like, I don’t know, watched/read/listened to the news?
18. Oh, like Carrie Bradshaw?
Kind of like that, except not at all. Instead of glamorously typing away about sex and the city in our cozy New York apartments, we spend our time in our dorms poring over a stylebook and panicking about what we’re going to do when we graduate.
19. Doesn’t everyone hate journalists?
Haters make us famous.