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We're No. 200
April 20, 2015

By Gabe Licht

Everyone loves a good list, right? That is as long as we’re not at the bottom of it.

But, that’s exactly where we newspaper reporters have found ourselves in CareerCast’s Jobs Rated list for 2015.

Yup, right below lumberjacks, who held claim to the “worst job” title a year ago.

The two jobs couldn’t be more different. In fact, the only real comparison I can think of is they both work with paper in various stages. Newspaper reporter has more in common with the 196th-ranked broadcaster position, which pays much better, and 195th-ranked photojournalist position, which pays even less.

Looking at the methodology behind the ranking, it’s easier to see the similarities between newspaper reporter and lumberjack, as well as other low-ranking jobs, such as military personnel, cook, corrections officer, taxi driver, firefighter, and mail carrier.

The first factor, environment, takes into account emotional and physical factors of these jobs. Clearly, lumberjacks, military personnel, corrections officers, and firefighters face more physical dangers, while other jobs on the list entail more emotional factors, such as competitiveness and degree of public contact.

Income is the second factor.

Not all writing jobs are created equal in this category.

“However, those with good writing skills often can find new employment in public relations, marketing, advertising, and social media, where the outlook may be brighter,” according to the press release for the 2015 CareerCast Jobs Rated report.

That’s interesting because I was initially going to college for a communications degree with a public relations emphasis, but dropped that emphasis before my final semester in order to take as many journalism-related classes as I could instead.

I joke that I chose journalism because I decided I didn’t want to make money.

The real reason was I’d much rather tell people’s stories and help inform readers about what is going on in a community.

Anyway, back to the rankings.

The next factor is outlook, another category in which newspaper reporter gets low marks. After all, this job has a negative growth outlook of 13.3 percent, and a high unemployment rate, although there are several jobs open in Minnesota at this time. These numbers just make me that much more thankful that I have a job, in a diverse company no less.

Stress is the fourth factor, and once again, one can see some jobs are rated poorly due to emotional and mental stress, while others are in more physical demanding and threatening positions.

Of the 11 stress factors used for the study, six relate directly to almost all newspaper reporters, while some reporters also deal with environmental conditions, hazards, and life-threatening situations, such as angry critics with clenched fists as they enter the newspaper office.

Deadlines, working in the public eye, and competitiveness are probably the most stressful aspects of the job. However, one of the “stress factors,” meeting the public, is actually one of the things many journalists enjoy.

I, for one, like getting to know people and their stories.

That example brings up a good point. Just as “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” so is the quality of one’s job.

Of course, I acknowledge the downsides of my profession, as I’m sure just about everyone does, even the first-ranked actuary with a mid-level income nearly $60,000 higher than a mid-level newspaper reporter.

I’ll gladly take the good with the bad as long as I have the chance to make a positive impact on the community.

Oh, and not having to do math, a common thread among four of the top 10 jobs, is just a bonus.

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