I love journalism and talking about journalism to other people. However, bringing up the fact that I study journalism to random people is kind of like telling people you are a doctor and they start asking you about random growths on their body.
I am not here to diagnose different news outlets for you, but I do know that you should probably get that thing on your shoulder checked out because it is nasty.
Typically, the average college student can withstand about two minutes of conversation about their major. This conversation should be light and very basic with the asker concluding with “Well that sounds interesting.”
However, for some odd reason when you tell someone that you are majoring in journalism it sounds an alarm within them to throw away all basic rules of conversation and say the most wild things.
Responses range from very passive to extremely wild and concern.
The Not Interested:
The best case scenario is the person asking is simply not interested. People either generally don’t care about what you are studying or alternatively people just don’t care about journalists, it really just depends on the room.
Either way, it is refreshing to talk to someone who literally does not care at all enough to comment about you.
There are some people on this earth who do not know what journalism is or who journalists are.
I once told someone what my major was and with an empty and confused look, they told me “Oh I love to journal too, it’s very cathartic,” which isn’t bad but leads to slight concerns about our overall awareness in this country.
Contrary to popular belief, I am very bad at journaling.
One of the most annoying types of person are the ones who want to have an argument with you about what you are trying to pursue as a career.
This person is usually a middle-aged man. However, they can come in all forms which really adds to the sneak attack. They are the ones desperate to know what you are doing, why you are doing it and are desperate to offer advice and an alternative career path.
Apparently, working for a small tech startup in Silicon Valley for 40 years gives them the authority to offer me career advice.
They are also the ones to offer up the delightful little phrase “journalism is dying.” They say it in a panicked, dire tone, the way people reserve for trying to buy toilet paper.
I used to try and fight them on this, but now I like to look them dead in the eyes and say “let it die. I am going to play this ship down like a violinist on the Titanic” which is truly a lot of fun especially when you add in a little violin playing gestures while in a crowded gathering.
The Fake News Destroyer:
The last type is the kind of person who has watched way too much news coverage in their life. They have opinions and they are not afraid to get up in your face about them, or slide into your Twitter DMs about them or wear them on a graphically insensitive reusable tote.
They know news and they need to know that you aren’t fake. At least in terms of your news coverage — you can be as fake as you want in your day-to-day life.
Getting random questions about the legitimacy of your reporting the second that you meet someone is odd but happens way more than should be socially acceptable.
Do they really think that I am going to come out and tell them that I participate in the spreading of false information? No, because that’s information about my morals that you have to work for.
The rules are simple, if I do not know you, you do not need to talk about my major, aspirations in life, or really any other part of me in a lengthy and derogatory way. I love that people are passionate about journalism but sometimes that passion is expressed in very odd ways. And can people stop telling me that my future profession is dying? We are all dying it's nothing new.