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Editor’s Notebook: Ranking the job of newspaper reporter

Published: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 11:31 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 11:40 p.m. CST

An uncle of mine recently sent an interesting newspaper clipping to me at the Kane County Chronicle.

It was a piece from the Dec. 1 edition of The Baltimore Sun by Jean Marbella that discussed the annual “Jobs Rated” report from CareerCast.com, a work-related website.

The news clip made note of the last job listed in CareerCast’s 2013 report of best to worst jobs, rated one to 200.

What was the last job on the list?

Newspaper reporter.

That No. 200 ranking comes after dishwasher (No. 187), construction worker (No. 171), bartender (No. 150) and attorney (No. 117).

Other journalism-related jobs on the list include publication editor (No. 168) and photojournalist (No. 188).

The No. 1 job? Actuary.

In conducting its report, CareerCast listed incomes associated with each job and measured factors pertaining to work environment, stress and hiring outlook.

A story published on its website explains some of the reasoning behind why newspaper reporters received the “worst” rating: “Of course, newspaper reporters have fared poorly in the ‘Jobs Rated’ report for years due to the job’s high stress and tight deadlines, low pay and requirement to work in all conditions to get the story. But journalism is not a dying art, nor is reporting a profession without prospects. Rethinking the industry has made reporters adapt.”

And that’s exactly what the Kane County Chronicle has been doing. Our website, videos, social media platforms and other online tools have become an incredibly important part of our news team’s duties. And – to be clear – CareerCast lists online reporter as a different job than newspaper reporter.

I also would agree with Ms. Marbella that many of the reasons listed for newspaper reporter being the worst job are some of the very same reasons why many such reporters love what they do. For example, meeting the public, competitiveness and – yes – even meeting deadlines.

As for me, I enjoyed being a reporter, and I enjoy being a “publication editor.” And, yes, I even enjoy the stress – at least most of the time.

• Kathy Gresey is editor of the Kane County Chronicle and president of the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association Board. Contact her at kgresey@shawmedia.com or 630-845-5368. Learn more about NINA at ninaonline.org.

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