I am a huge Grey’s Anatomy fan and have been a media student for the last five year, three of which were spent interning and working in different content and journalism organisations. I love to connect the dots and so here’s a pathway map to highlight just how similar journalism is to surgery.
Surgeons are medical practitioners who go through college studying the theories of medicine. They spend years poring over books, cramming every last theory into their heads. There is absolutely no room for mistakes. Eventually, they enter a real hospital as interns, interacting, treating and being responsible for vulnerable patients. Errors are life-altering and can lead to grievous outcomes. They cross over residency and fellowships, spending years becoming worthy of the tag of a surgeon. Hours are spent perfecting skills, learning, getting better with each stitch. The scalpel must be befriended for it is both gift and curse.
Journalism is pretty much the same. It takes years of hard work to be able to call yourself a journalist. As the coursework helps open the mind, mentors shape thoughts like pots from the mud. Eventually, young reporters enter newsrooms to practice and learn. A mistake by a journalist can cause someone their reputation, even life. There is no room for being irresponsible with information, data, access and reach. They learn how to measure and balance words, a never-ending process. Pen and paper must be befriended for they are both strength and weakness.
The internet has changed things for both these professions, giving people access to information, which is often unvetted. Information is everything to persons practicing these professions and yet, they are lied to way too often. They are supposed to look through the vulnerabilities with a straight face and find the truth through the mist of lively chaos.
Adrenaline courses through the veins of both journalists and surgeons. Both are a collection of extremely vulnerable beings. People expect too much from them. They fail too often, their limitations unknown to the world. The lives they lead are like open secrets everyone knows about but fails to acknowledge. They often stay shut for it helps them survive.
Alas, journalism is a lot like surgery!