Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


After having worked at a TV station, and now working at a newspaper, I would like to share an observation with you.

I believe that those of us who work in the mass media are a lot like zookeepers. (Although I've never worked in a zoo, so I couldn't quite tell you for sure...)

I remember visiting the zoo as a child and being awestruck by the wonder if it all. I believe I was seven years old when I went on an elephant ride (I remember the guide said something about the elephant's hair being bristly like a toothbrush, and sure enough I could see the black bristly fur right in front of me). To this day, I'm not sure how I kept from falling off the animal -- it was huge, and totally swaying back and forth!

Then there's the smell. I think it still remains in my nostrils to this day.

But at least I got to go home after visiting the awesome yet smelly animals and escaping the stench. I don't even want to think about what kind of crap the zookeepers have to shovel around.

So here's where the metaphor kicks in. You turn on your TV and watch the news or just enjoy a show. It's awesome. You want to wear the styles the actors are donning, you want to imitate the cool tone in the announcers' voice, and you shudder at how close the cameras were able to zoom into the actors' faces. Or you walk to the kitchen table where the newspaper is lying around and flip through the front page, the crossword puzzle, the comics section, the sports page. Fun and enjoyable, but then you move on and get on with your day.

But for those of us in the media, behind the scenes, the glitter can fade rather quickly. The wardrobe people who pick out the actors' styles are probably just following orders from a director or producer, the announcer is probably some fat guy who's been working on his voiceover all day with the help of some engineer named Charlie, and the camerapeople are in therapy for putting up with hyper directors who like to yell when something isn't shot perfectly. Or the person designing the front page at the newspaper is frustrated because a news-breaking story was added at the last minute, the dude who puts the crossword puzzles together is spazzing over a millimeter of space that is throwing off the whole puzzle, the comics person monotonously downloads another cartoon off the internet, the sports guys are about to explode with stress because the game went into overtime and their section will be late. Not always so enjoyable -- that IS our day.

I'm sure the zookeepers enjoy being with the animals and feeding them and explaining aspects of the animal kingdom to young visitors, but for the most part I'm sure their day just consists of shoveling crap. The kids who visit the zoo will ooo and aah over the animals, but I'm sure underneath a smiling face, the zookeepers might be thinking, "Big deal. It's just a smelly monkey."

It's lots of fun working in the media and being in the middle of all the action. Sometimes people will ooo and aah over what's on TV or in the paper, but for those of us who work behind the scenes shoveling all the crap around, sometimes we just think, "Big deal. All I did for it to come on your TV was push a button." Or, "That newspaper is just a bunch of Quark documents stuck together."

Some days are awe-inspiring, but other days, it's just a smelly monkey.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Designed by Lena