Michael McKay

Michael McKayWestern Kentucky University

Courier-Journal

“This isn’t an internship. This is a job.”

That advice was given to me by the C-J’s celebrated former metro editor Mike Trautmann very early on in my internship.

Trautmann and six others were let four days later.

But I don’t want to talk about our newsroom’s latest restructuring – even though I’ve been asked to a lot of times to, by colleagues, other outlets or high school students interested in journalism. I will answer the question that everyone wants to know: Why would you still consider journalism as a career?

The truth is I’ve never seriously considered anything else.

In kindergarten, my teacher said I came into class in November of ‘96 asking the class excitedly “who watched the debate last night?” Maybe not surprisingly, that question was met with a lot of blank stares.

This is my first time working as a reporter, so a good part of those first couple of weeks (though some could argue the LAST couple of weeks) have been spent with a blank stare on my face.

But nothing has been more satisfying than filing a story in my series on transgender policy at a local high school or finally coming up with witty headline for a story about a car service.

At one point, I was at an event for something when a woman took out a newspaper clipping of a story I wrote and pointed at a speaker saying, “Is that this same guy?” Ew.” I’ve been just as grateful to have people call or write to me to say how much they hated something I wrote/just hate me in general.

How amazing is it that people take the time to think about the stuff we write at all!

And even though there are more empty desks on the fourth floor of our building, Trautmann’s expectations of me haven’t changed.

The only thing that’s changed is the new plushy office chair I sit in with “TRAUT” in bold white letters.

Maybe one day I’ll get my own chair.

Maybe.

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