Sometimes … I Want Out

14 Oct

I love being a journalist, I really do. I love dissecting a certain topic; digging deep into whatever matter; interviewing people; putting the given information into context; doing research; writing the story and then seeing it in print the next day / week / month.

I might have been in this industry for over nine years, seeing my byline in the newspaper or some magazine still give me that *Woooaaaahhhh!* feeling.

But sometimes, I want out, out, out – and today is one of those days. This for a change has nothing to do with sometimes shitty pay or shitty media communication people.

Look, in order to be a successful (freelance) journalist, you have to know what is going on ‘out there’ in order to pitch stories to your editors. And in order to know what is going on, you have to read the newspapers, listen to the radio, and wade through the internet in search for relevant news topics.

Usually, I have no problem with that. Today, however, is “one of those days”. Take a look at this screenshot.

IOL's main news on Oct 14 2011: Crime crime crime

“But you are not a crime reporter so what is the big deal?”, you’d reply. Indeed, I generally do not write about crime, accidents, rape, murder, and other shit. But we journalists – regardless of our field of expertise – are confronted with it EVERY SINGLE DAY.

And sometimes, dear reader, it is getting me down. And it is not just that, but also the fact that so many South Africans have become sort of numb for this crap. Many shrug when they read stories about raped toddlers, Facebook rapists, and other horrible things. I do understand that to a certain extent: shit like that happens every single day. You’d end up in a mental institution if had to think about everything for too long 365 days per year.

But still … A baby stabbed to death with a broken bear bottle? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?


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4 responses to “Sometimes … I Want Out

  1. Mark Goodwin

    October 14, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Mmmm….A couple of choices come to mind without too much thought.
    1. Leave that God forsaken Country and try somewhere else…Holland is nice this time of year! or, 2. Why not write about the fact that there there is not much to write about that is ‘good’ anymore. I’m sure that many of your prospective readers will agree with you. Dig into the archives and find some lovely old stories from yesteryear and tell your current reading public, how nice it must have been back in the day to write about interesting and heart-warming facts?

    Just a thought

    • Miriam Mannak

      October 14, 2011 at 11:16 pm

      Hey Mark, Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, I would not want to move to Europe. Have ‘ungrown’ that place a bit. I think writing a blog post about what you mentioned is a very good start. I am sure people would find themselves in that. While people often complain about the lack of positive news in the papers, it is them who would more likely buy a paper with a shocking headline than one with a fuzzy one. We journos, would love to write more positive stories, to tell you the truth. Publishers however know that a headline with a ‘shock and awe’ factor sells better. A newspaper, after all, is a business and not an NGO. That is why I love websites like and Good News South Africa.

      • Mark Goodwin

        October 15, 2011 at 4:01 am

        Your absolutely right of course and it was a pretty stupid suggestion to make to a pro Journo, sorry! It’s always the ‘Red Tops’ that sell here more than any, and yet even the so-called serious press still have ‘bad news’ headlines, the only difference is that their bad news is nothing to do with sex and celebs but, politics and the financial state of the Country!

        Nice chatting with you



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