Journalists and dickishness

Are journalists dicks? Lyra McKee wrote a rather interesting post on the subject, suggesting that many new journalists and tech journalists in particular are more about the ego than the story, and that while it can be good for their profiles their work suffers as a result. I came across the post via John Thompson on Twitter, and it spawned a rather fascinating (if meta and navel-gazing) conversation on the subject, which I’ve Storified below.

My personal opinion has long been that being very good at anything creative and public (both of which journalism certainly is) tends to involve both a large ego and a well of insecurity. Going out in public and proclaiming that what you’re doing is worth someone’s time and attention – that your work is important – requires a certain brash self-confidence. But being ambitious and driven more often than not means being terrified that one day what you do won’t be worthy – and that means a constant anxiety and need to prove yourself, sometimes at the expense of niceties. The combination makes for fascinating, creative people who combine often seemingly incompatible traits – thick skin and vulnerability to criticism – with deep insight, blinding intelligence, common sense, a work ethic that would make an oxen blush and myriad other laudable traits. Sometimes that means a bit of dickishness, too.

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Mary Hamilton

I'm an operations specialist, analytics nerd, recovering journalist, consultant, writer, game designer, company founder, and highly efficient pedant.

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