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PEN&INKee^POSSIBILITIESee^: The reward journalists dream about

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By Kirsten Laskey

Journalists are low on popularity polls. The idea that we’re a motley crew seems to be conventional wisdom. I’ve been told since high school, maybe even earlier, that the public does not trust the media.

I was reminded of people’s suspicion toward reporters when I raised a question to a panel of business owners while on an assignment one afternoon. “Watch out,” the moderator had jokingly warned the local entrepreneurs, this question was coming from the media.

Everyone catches flak regarding their occupation at some point, but besides politics, I don’t know of another occupation that inspires so much dissatisfaction from people.

It can make me personally feel a little resentful at times.

I fumed for days after hearing my parents’ realtor mockingly called The Monitor, “The Vomitor.” It was a harmless jibe but I still took it personally.

Just where did this distrust originate? I like to point the finger at paperback detective novels; they’re always giving reporters a bad image.

However it started, I need to lighten up and stop grumbling whenever I am exposed to this wariness.

Taking the bad with the good is a tough lesson to learn, but  I am realizing more and more the good far outweighs the bad.

Take last week, for instance. During my weekly spinning class on Wednesday, Laura, the instructor, read aloud a copy of a past “Pen and Ink Possibilities” column to the class.

It celebrated the great spirit of the group, which everyone from Laura to Johnny, a stationary bike speedster, nurtures.

Something wonderful happened as she read aloud my words – people loved it. They cheered when they learned they were recognized in the column, laughed at my corny jokes and applauded everything in between.

The more she read, the more it was no longer just my column; the story belonged to everyone in the room.

I huffed and puffed, sweated and strained all through the class, but it was no big deal.

I glowed with the knowledge that I am fortunate enough to have a job that forms such tight bonds with others. Not only that, but that bond produced work that was openly embraced.

To have such an achievement is worth everything, I thought. It is worth a few scatterings of criticism, a sometimes dismal paycheck and an ever-growing to-do list.    

I’ve worked as a reporter and been around journalists long enough to know when you win the public’s appreciation there is no sweeter, more cherished accomplishment.