Editors Note:

EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stress of the Press

ACC Tourney Devaney gets highI don't buy it. Sure, a photog's job is worrisome, but number 4 on The 10 Most Stressful Jobs of 2011? Surely, there's a submarine commander or tightrope walker or bomb squad technician under more pressure than those of us hoisting Sonys over our heads. Hey, how about air traffic controllers? They have to stay awake for nearly an entire shift! Oh, wait...

Honestly, I don’t stress out on the job like I used to. Sure, I kicked the shit out of that trash can in the edit bay the other day, but it HAD been leering at me for the better part of an hour. No, compared to how I used to wig out, I’m a regular Hari Krishna (as opposed to an irregular Hari Krishna). Back in the early nineties, before I had turned (most) every kind of story there was, I’d crisscross the region in my news unit, sucking down Marlboro Light after Marlboro Light as I wondered aloud how in the hell I was gonna have that story done by the time the anchor introduced it. Oh what a difference a couple of decades make. Now, I turn three o clock kerfluffles into winking five o clock reports without ingesting a single cigarette. It’s not that I don’t earn a few new wrinkles in the process, but I rarely ever question wether or not I’ll be able to hit my deadline. Why? I don’t know, really. Twenty years into the same gig have refined my ability to shoot economically, write scripts in a loud newsroom (earbuds and Metallica help) and edit at the speed of fright. There are, however, a few things that still stress. me. out.

Mysterious New Live Truck Buttons

DSCF0475I’ve never hidden my disdain for live trucks, as I believe they’ve accelerated the downfall of a once noble profession. Mostly though, I’d rather shoot write and edit than play truck tech. Thus, I avoid them like genital warts. Sometimes, though I can’t properly dodge such assignments and I find myself scratching various body parts as I stare at control switches I don’t remember. Since flipping the wrong switch in a live truck can fry you from the insides, I always call the engineers, but not before kicking up a few dirt circles first.

Phantom Press Releases

Carney Article WideHey, here’s a thought: If you’re a Public Relations person with a juicy story to peddle, don’t fax me all the details and then leave the country. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve done back-flips over a fresh, fluffy press release only to have the PR wonk that sent it totally stonewall me. Okay, I can: 982, 061. I don’t know whether they don’t expect us to respond so quickly or are just trying to torment us because they themselves washed out of the business. Either way, it’s stupefying. One local entity is notorious for the phantom fax. I won’t tell you the name, but their initials are GTCC.

Lollipops of Doom

I love Macs. I’m making sweet love to one right now. But for the life of me, I can’t fathom why the Cupertino crowd made their pre-crash distress signal so effing cheery. There I am, minutes before airtime with much more to edit when that spinning beach-ball of death thingie appears on screen to let me know I’m about to be screwed. Why not a skull and crossbones or lumbering Bigfoot avatar? Then I wouldn’t feel so silly throwing a tantrum over a symbol that should evoke memories of sandcastles and bikinis. Not that I’ve ever let such a discrepancy stop me from a good tantrum.

Oh, as to why photojournalists and newscasters ranked so high on The 10 Most Stressful Jobs of 2011? Weaver has a theory I like. He posits that we in the media are no more stressed than any other profession. We’re just extra whiny about it. Reading back over this post, I’d have to agree.


Anonymous said...

Think its more the network and war shooters who've earned the right to be on that list...not the ones stuck babysitting smelly live trucks though.

Lenslinger said...

Couldn't agree more, Anonymous. I have great respect for those overseas folks. The rest of us are mostly poseurs. Well, me, anyway.

30frames said...

I wouldn't read much into this "report." They ranked Anchors higher than cops and EMT's! They also made it seem like Anchors run the entire station and shoot all the stories themselves.
As for our job, my thinning hairline agrees with where they ranked it.

Richard said...

For me, the major stress comes with watching the business go right down the crapper. Poor management decisions, poor customer service, and those that are in it for the short term rather than wanting to finish the long run.

Weaver said...

I perceive stress as a point of view really. What's stressful to one individual may or may not stress out someone else.

I know housewives who sit at home most of the day with way too much time on their hands and it stresses them out.

cyndy green said...

I thrive on stress...so I guess what I'm saying is that news is NOT stressful...at least to me. It was/is positive stress....the kind that gets your adrenalin pumping so you can really focus in on getting the job done. There are other kinds of stress I can do without and avoid though.

Chris said...

Yeah I was kinda proud of that ranking, until I realized it was the war corrospondents throwing the curve. Then I just felt like a pussy.