Commentary

Poor Journalists Whine Online: 'I've Overdrawn My Account On Coffee,' 'Carefully Time' Shaving Legs

By Dan Gainor | November 9, 2011 | 3:30pm EST

Not to be out-whined by the “We are the 99 percent” complaints, journalists are now venting online about how hard they have things, too. A new Tumblr page called “We Are Journalists” is a collection of photos and self profiles of media types “tired of bad press about the press.”

In a little mini-rant on the main page, they complain: “We would like to produce quality work without 'obamasux99' posting some non-sequitur rant at the end of it. We complain because we want things to be better. We would like some respect, plz. We are journalists.”

According to Steve Myers, the managing editor of Poynter.org, “the first several posts are from St. Pete Times journalists.” That is obvious from at least one of the photos, which shows the press pass of Justin George. He laments how hard he has it, especially pay. “I know I could make a mint doing something else but would it make the same difference?”

Another, photographed in front of a booth with a Tampa Bay Times logo, lists some of her big complaints as financial. “I pay for my journalism degree $95.87 each month. I’ve written checks for gas. I’ve overdrawn my account on coffee more than once.” But it’s more than that, she adds. “Total strangers call me names I wouldn’t call a baby killer.” That degree costs just $1,150.44 per year, hardly covering books at most colleges.

That poverty theme crops up in other profiles too. This one is beneath a photo of a young woman typing on an old-fashioned typewriter, with framed newspaper pages hanging on a nearby wall.

“I am a reasonably intelligent college graduate who was never very good at math. I make a proud living as a watchdog, an entertainer and a recorder of history. I drive a 12-year-old car with 170,000 miles on it and am praying it gets me through another year without an expensive repair. I have no debt, other than a relatively low mortgage payment. I look for BOGO sales at the grocery store and the majority of my clothing is purchased by my mother. I carefully time when I shave my legs because razor cartridges are $14 a box. I hope one day someone leaves me a bunch of money because Lord knows I’ll never get rich on my own.

I am a newspaper reporter.”

A new post from an editorial intern complains: “I can fit everything I own into my two-door Honda Civic. I eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly.”

Journalists complaining in ways similar to Occupy Wall Street is unsurprising. Two separate news unions, including the newspaper guild, the recognized union for many print and online journalists, and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) are fully behind the radical message of Occupy Wall Street. Both guilds have formally endorsed the protests.

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