The introverted journalist

Recently, I began working as a full-time staff writer for the Three Rivers Commercial-News. I can now call myself a full-time journalist.

When people think of a journalist, they picture an individual with a camera, notebook and recorder in hand, chasing down their source while shouting questions at them. Some may picture a tenacious individual going to any length possible to get the scoop for a story.

While there are times a journalist has to be “pushy” so to speak to grab certain information for a story, whether that be ambushing a reluctant source or tracking them down relentlessly, I admit that I am not your run-of-the-mill, stereotypical journalist.

I am a journalist who happens to be an introvert.

Being an introvert means that I become exhausted after being around a large group of people for a long period of time. It means that I would rather stay in on a Friday night binge watching a show on Netflix. It means I need alone time to recharge my batteries.

I know it sounds like being an introvert and a journalist don’t mix. To some people, it may be a faulty combination. I don’t agree. I know which questions to ask and I know when to turn on my inner extrovert when it is necessary. I love writing, that is why I am a journalist. I love telling stories and meeting new people, learning about their lives.

Admittedly, some days it is not easy for me to pick up the phone and call a source for a difficult story, or charge ahead after a prominent person after a controversial meeting. Oftentimes, I am standing and waiting quietly for them to finish their conversation with someone else before I begin asking questions. I make sure I get what I need, though.

I have been working in journalism for the last six years and it has served me well for the most part. Sure, I take it personally when someone criticizes an article I wrote or criticizes me, but then I remember that opinions are nothing more than opinions. I don’t do well with confrontation, either. It is a skill I am working on.

I do have days when I would rather be home in my bed hiding from society instead of sitting in a meeting or conducting an interview, but we all have those days. It’s more a matter of my introversion creeping in. That is when I have to force myself to adapt to the situation and become a “social butterfly” for that allotted amount of time.

Afterwards, I am usually exhausted. That is when I need to go home and recharge.

Let’s face it, introverts have received a bad rep in the workforce and society in general. Society adores extroverts. This article, “Introverts pose a problem for hirers” published on in January 2014, states that organizations are more likely to hire individuals who “relish social life, and are energized by interacting with friends and strangers – people who are ‘assertive, go-getting and and able to seize the day.'” This is a description taken from Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.”

It’s easy to understand why companies would want to hire an extrovert over an introvert; extroverts are social, they get their energy from socializing. Introverts can be drained from too much socializing. However, just because someone is an introvert doesn’t make them a bad candidate for a job.

In fact, the article states Cain argues that “introverts require much less stimulation and operate at their best when they are allowed to do so in quieter and lower-key environments. A reader can conclude that noisier extroverts might not always be ideal and that introverts can be better for business.” Cain’s views are supported by a 2010 study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania management school that found introverted leaders typically deliver better outcomes than extroverts. (

An excerpt from the article says the problem recruiters have with introverts is they don’t sell themselves or present their skills in the same manner that extroverts do, putting introverts at a disadvantage.

Just because I’m an introvert doesn’t mean I’m a bad journalist. I still do my job, and (most of the time; I’m only human) I do it well. I simply don’t fit the mold of the stereotypical journalist. I don’t find anything wrong with that. I’m an introvert with a passion for writing and telling stories.

And that’s OK.


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