Do What You Love
Countless times during the 30 years I spent as a professional journalist, I heard myself say, “I love this job so much, I’d do it for free!”
I thought I was lying. Turns out, I wasn’t. I’m doing it for free right now, as News Director of KPTZ Radio 91.9, a non-profit, all-volunteer radio station.
But back when I was saying I’d do it for free, I was covering Major League Baseball for big newspapers. I slept in every morning, went to “work” (the ballpark) around 4 in the afternoon, hung around the field and clubhouse talking to players and managers, ate a free dinner, watched the game from the press box, went down to the clubhouse to talk to the players some more, then went home.
When the team I covered went on the road, I went with them… Boston, New York, Toronto, Chicago… the best hotels, nice restaurants, all expenses paid.
Oh yeah, there was this little thing about a deadline. Some writing and reporting involved. But it was fun. During summer, I often “worked” seven days a week, and for 13 consecutive years, I never once called in sick. I actually looked forward to going to “work.” Every day brought a new adventure, a new story.
THAT’S what I’d do for free.
Now I’m in charge of five volunteer news anchors in a small, sleepy town, reporting on fundraisers for middle school sports teams, the library relocation and ferry cancellations. And doing it for free.
But last week, the local cops arrested a guy for breaking into cars to steal stuff, and I found out the suspect had spent a couple of years in prison for stabbing a homeless guy. I called attorneys, the District Court and Superior Court. I went into full reporter mode, adrenaline flowing. We had a scoop. It amounted to 37 seconds on the radio, but it was a scoop.
I’d do this for free.
KPTZ News Director