Newsroom Bitches*

It’s sometimes funny to have to defend myself against suspicions about my political inclinations when I’m in the newsroom. The question is both amusing and insulting, given that a journalist can never have that tendency. At least not a journalist that respects himself. Leaning towards a certain political interest discredits you. I see it a lot in colleagues abroad who make their preferences evident.

Latin Americans especially are incapable of keeping a safe distance. There are those who worship Uribe, those who blindly love CFK and those with hatred. Any of these tendencies is more or less acceptable… but far away from the newsroom. And it’s because these same ‘journalists’ are the ones who disarm and discredit a profession than is already quite deflated.

The banality persecuting tabloid writers, the idiots who boast about being some celebrity’s tripod, the fools who’ll accept any corporate invitation… or the worst, the ones who abuse their power and sell their political conviction.

Personally, I think Nicolas Maduro is a jerk, but I’d never insult him in the news I’m responsible for. Yes, I’ll talk about his administration’s shortcomings, but I’ll never overshadow all of Venezuela’s coverage by focusing just on Maduro. I’m not a fan of Merkel either, but I’m not blind to her management and achievements and I even have to defend her policies in the face of a wave of stupidity, which comes especially from the Southern European periphery.

We’ll be the Fourth Estate as long as we respect a professional ethic. But every day there are more mediocre people with too much ego and too little notion who call themselves journalists and who’d be better off selling mobile phone contracts at a shopping mall.

In fact, sometimes the level of discussion sounds more like what you’d hear at a hair salon than at a newsroom. That’s when you realize that you may have been too relaxed with your recruiting selection criteria.

Vanities, egos, envy, mediocrity and greed. All these form part of any group of people; in journalism they’re increasingly present. The mission of editors should be to eradicate these trends and, wherever possible, to eliminate those people, who are so good at managing rumors and discrediting, but so weak in their professional duties.

Journalism is only possible with journalists; the rest is soap-opera style mediocrity. What newsroom do you work at?

*’A Colombian Experience’ could also be the title for this article …