Friday, 6 June 2014

13 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Date A Journalist

EHarmony, the online dating service, recently published "Reasons To Date A Reporter" and after reading the list, I was in stitches of laughter. 

Naturally, being a journalist, I feel the need to point out how wrong this list is. So using the cited reasons as a source of origin, here are 13 reasons why you shouldn't date a journalist. 

                                                            Photo: TheGuardian 

"Reporters have a great B.S radar"

First off, not all reporters have this. It's like saying all nurses have a sunny disposition. In reality, journalists don't have a great bullshit radar - we are cynical and skeptical of the world around us. Even as a cub, you're taught to question everything; the press releases you're emailed, a politicians statement, why there's been more rainfall in March then there was in February. Taking nothing at face value and questioning everything is not generally okay in a romantic relationship. 

"Reporters are usually self-employed and have flexible schedules"

We're poor. 

Unless you're part of the small percentage that has a staff job/is a household name, the profession does not pay very well. It's why so many press events provide free alcohol and food - we will turn up to the opening of an envelope if there's free stuff on offer. "Self-employed" means your freelance and you're living pay-check to pay-check. "Flexible schedule" is a reflection of this, you go from having no social life of any kind to re-arranging your books in alphabetical and chronological order, trying to remember why on earth you decided this would be a good career. 

"You'll be getting a great Scrabble partner"

 My family will officially no longer play Scrabble with me because I am such a pain in the arse about it. "That's not a word, that's an acronym!", "That's not in the Oxford dictionary, therefore it doesn't count", "You didn't spell that right - no points for you!". Scrabble is not a game to journalists, it's an opportunity to showboat and we take that very seriously. You'll want to smash the bag of tiles in our face before the round is over. 

"Reporters meet deadlines"

There are thousands of editors around the world who could set you straight on that one. We have deadlines. We sometimes meet them. More often than not, you file your copy late, blaming bad WiFi/a source not returning your calls/it looked like the world was going to end and you didn't want to send in a stale story as to why your story was sent in at 3pm instead of 1pm. 

"Your date will always have interesting stories to tell" 

If hearing about the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates running for the Labour party leadership or all the reasons why the eurozone could still collapse is your idea of "interesting", than yes, this statement is true. If we are working on a really interesting piece, chances are, we can't talk to you about it. Protecting sources is like Fight Club, okay?

"Your date will remember your birthday, the way you like your coffee and that promise you made her last week. Your words will matter"

We forget to eat if we're busy enough. We'll probably be working your birthday, have to break the promise we made you last week because "something came up" and the only coffee we care about is the one we're wishing we could IV into our own vein. Your words do matter, but if we get into an argument, we'll probably passively aggressively point out your incorrect use of the word "literally". A lot. 

"Reporters get invitations to swanky events"

Rarely. There is a prevailing myth that the profession is 24/7 glamour. The last press screening I went to was on at 10:30am, there was no free stuff and all the hacks avoided eye-contact with each other. You know what we get invited to a lot? Press conferences. There is nothing swanky about a press conference - it's where enthusiasm goes to die. 

"Successful reporters (like the one you're dating) are ambitious and aren't afraid to take risks" 

Successful reporters, now more than ever, have no free-time. None. Journalism is your mother, your child and your oxygen. Week's can fly by without spending quality time with your nearest and dearest. We aren't afraid ks in the pursuit of a scoop - this does not translate to taking risks in our relationships. The most riskiest thing we'll do in our personal life is sniff those chicken fillets that have been in a fridge for the week and roll the dice on whether their still edible. 

"Reporters make great dates to parties and family events, as they’re great at asking questions and engaging others in conversation"

Funny enough, most people don't enjoy the feeling that they're under inquisition and all that's missing is the harsh lighting in their face. The more passionate the reporter, the bigger the chance that they're going to ask intrusive questions that will make a social situation awkward. "Engaging others in conversation" means having a heated debate about religion/politics/whatever is in the news at the moment. 

"Reporters are passionate communicators, excited to share stories with a wider audience. They also want to hear others’ stories"

More than free stuff or a high-profile person making a public faux pas, journalists love voicing their opinions and views. We thrive on it. We're not just excited to share stories - we're going to ram them into your head and tell you repeatedly why it matters. We do want to hear others stories - because we're thinking there might be something we can chase up into an article or because we're going to tear apart your belief system until you're a shell of your former self and you need a drink. 

"Reporters are trustworthy. And when you’re in a relationship with one, everything is off the record"

We are trustworthy. But unless you explicitly say something is off the record, it is not off the record. It is stored away in our mental file, waiting for the opportunity to be used. 

"Reporters can act fast, redirect questions and problem-solve on the fly. If you like smart guys/girls, a reporter will keep you on your toes"

The quick-thinking and redirecting questions thing does not work to your advantage if you're seeing a journalist. If there's something personal we don't want to answer, we're adept at turning it back to you. We are smart - and we can be right smartarses when it suits us. 

"Clark Kent. Enough said"

I've been working in the media for five years. I've yet to meet any journalist that looks like freaking Clark Kent. 

Mucho Love,

Vicky xoxo 

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