Friday, September 10, 2010

Why Work is Frustrating

I came to the sudden and unsuspected realization yesterday that I actually really care about my job.

I say unexpected because I've always told myself that while I take my job seriously, it is not something that I want to do forever. In fact, it's more like what I do now just to get experience in broadcasting and pay the bills. I've always tried to do well, but I didn't really care to really excel in copy-editing.

But I've noticed that over the past few months, I've become more vocal. Instead of just quietly editing things and not making too many changes to articles, I've begun tearing chunks apart, rewriting and really fact-checking.

On the one hand, I feel like I'm really doing something to improve the quality of the news that goes out on air. On the other hand, work is a bit more tiring and stressful. I spend about 10 to 15 minutes per story on average, if it's a story that has a familiar background or if it's relatively well written. However, a few reporters seem to have gotten a little bit, shall we say, lazy over the summer. And we've been getting into arguments a lot the last few months over facts, grammar, leads and story angles.

Some of the reporters that I've previously had great working relationships with seem to doubt me when I say that I think something is wrong with what they wrote. Half the time, I'm just asking them to double check something because I think it sounds wrong, but I can't read the Korean sources. The other half of the time, I know it's wrong because it's a story/grammar rule/AP style rule that I'm familiar with.

I hate arguing with my co-workers over things like why crazy pastor wanted to set Qurans on fire or whether Joe Lieberman is a Democrat or an Independent. I hate confronting reporters who have been writing for years over unintelligible articles. But at the same time, I don't want low quality stuff going out on air. I want our watchers to understand. And it would be nice if foreigners in Korea would turn to our news program for all the latest news.

I know most of my expat friends make fun of the TV channel I work for. At times, I've made fun of it. Heck, pretty much all of my co-workers and I have talked about much of a joke it is at one point in time over the last year I've worked here. But recently, a good chunk of us have actually starting caring enough about it to try and make some positive changes in quality. I know we can't become CNN overnight. But, hey, as long as we try as least we'll be satisfied with the work we do, right?

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