Why I Love my Job: Digital Producer

Grab a pen and pad. Write 1-10 in the left hand column. Now, describe yourself. What do you put first? Man? Woman? Daughter? Son? I put journalist, and I’m going to tell you why that makes me so happy I can hardly contain my smile as I write this.

If you’ve been reading my posts, you know I tend to have strong feelings about…just about everything, except politics (hold your comments). I am a passionate journalist who loves getting up every, single day and going to work.

Why? And, you may be saying, do you love getting up when it’s cold and rainy? I am not a robot, I’m a journalist, so of course there are days I’d rather stay cuddled up in bed, cozy and warm, but I DO love what I do. Do you?

Being a journalist means you get to sit on the “sidelines of history,” and write the “first draft.” Being a digital media journalist and, more recently, a producer for a nationally syndicated television show, means I not only get to experience the first draft of history first hand, but I’m also part of the generation that will change the way journalism is done. And if THAT isn’t a good enough of an excuse to get out of bed every morning, I don’t know what is.

I always knew I wanted to “help” people, but it wasn’t until I saw/read “All the President’s Men” in my junior year of High School that I knew I’d do that by being a journalist. At that point, I was also contemplating being a lawyer (following in my mom’s footsteps), which isn’t as far from journalism as you’d think, but the movie put me over the edge.

I had been asking “WHY” since I could speak — to me, there was always another answer, another lead, another story to be told. I used to beg my grandmother to tell me the same. exact. story. over, and over, and over again — to the point that I would be able to finish it myself.

As an only child for five years, I spent a lot of time playing on my own — and creating these elaborate stories in my head. When my brother was born, I created a bunch of stories that included him, and then, began to speak for him. Anthony was born with a condition that affected his speech — he didn’t speak till he was five and so, for the first five years of his life, I was his voice when he had none. You don’t come away from an experience like that unchanged — and I am BEYOND grateful to have had the opportunity to see that giving a voice to those without one is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have in this life.

After seeing “All the President’s Men,” I applied to be Editor-in-Chief of my High School paper, and got the position. I jumped in on graphic design, helped edit stories and worked with the Printer. I put as many hats on as possible and loved every minute of it — I felt, if I didn’t understand how the paper was made, what good was writing the stories?

I carried that with me to college and started getting into code because I could see that, based on my own preferences, print journalism was not (unfortunately) going to be the journalism of the future. Once I got involved with Facebook and Twitter, I realized I could start telling even more amazing stories and learn about people hundreds, thousands of miles away, all while sitting in my office, sharing my own experiences.

If you’re a journalist who is weary of this fight — think about what made you choose this profession. Maybe it was the thrill of holding your first press pass, your first clip…or maybe it was that first re-tweet by a major news outlet. Think about that and feel the chills I suspect you may have felt (I hope) while reading this piece. Reconnect to YOUR purpose — I know it’s hard when you are fearing lay-offs or dealing with the reality that you may have to just write about cats for the advertisers. It is hard, but we WILL be ok. We will figure out how to continue to be the voice for those without a voice, while still navigating the need for clicks, views and subscribers.

If you’re a student thinking about this profession — don’t listen to the world weary, we have to be cynical, it’s part of the profession BUT don’t YOU be that way. Feel the fire, feed the thirst, keep ASKING WHY. Never, ever take “because that’s the way it is” as an answer. Fight for your right to free speech, support the SPJ, your local chapters, support your fellow reporters. Watch every news program you can, follow the “influential” tweeters, subscribe to your favorite journalists. Interact — go to conferences and LEARN. Never stop learning.

We’re in this together, so now I want to hear from you — why do you love your job? Tweet me @giornalista515, I’d love to hear from you.

Victoria Reitano is a Digital Producer at Live! with Kelly. She works at ABC in New York and is so happy to be reunited with her true love – Manhattan. In her spare time, she dabbles with her blog, The Giornalista Files, where she shares her ideas about being an early career lady journo with anyone who will listen. Reitano feels Yoga is the perfect compliment to her obsessive need to consume information on a constant basis and when she’s not practicing that, she’s cycling at one studio or another as spin is the perfect compliment to her Staten Island background — fist pump, anyone? Connect with her on Twitter @giornalista515 for laughs, thoughts and some tricks of the trade.

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