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Professionalism and class

December 1, 2010

I don’t know if trying to make it in the MSM after graduation was the best decision I ever made, or the worst. I learned a lot of harsh lessons that year that I think have made me a better writer, a better professional, and a better person, as cliche as it may sound. At the same time, it was kind of ugly. Ugly, ugly, ugly.  I know a lot of you have better stories to tell, and have seen your hard work appropriately rewarded. My experience was probably on the more bitter end of the scale, but it was far from unique. If you haven’t heard my story, buy me a beer one day and you will, but this post is not about just me.

It’s about the thousands of others who finish school, fresh-faced and ready to pay their dues, thinking that their hard work and talent is enough to succeed in the wonderful world of the MSM, and find that instead they have to compromise their values or allow themselves to be exploited just to have their work published without pay or credit.

You don’t get a lot of respect when you’re young or just starting out, and you get no help. Established journalists are too concerned with protecting their own positions to lend you any advice or help. Sometimes you even find yourself being pushed down or out.

But they’re not all like that. Even though hockey (or sports) was never my field, and even though I’m “just” a blogger, I’ve been lucky enough to meet some MSMers who rock my world. I wish that I had met them five or six years ago, and that they had worked in my own field.

There aren’t enough people like that, and now they are one less.

It’s not just the world of hockey or the world of hockey writing that has lost one of its greats. It’s the world of journalism.

RIP Jim Kelley.

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