I didn’t know what to do with myself after I finished graduate school. I had just spent six years in academia, and I was tired of talking about critical theory and ideology until we were blue in the face—yet doing little to nothing in our communities to make real changes.
After working in hospice homes as a grief counselor and seeing a tremendous amount of pain and suffering, I decided to change direction and attend yoga teacher training. I had seen so many people struggle with their health in my time as a grief counselor that I wanted to do something that would help people find lasting health and peace with themselves.
But being a yoga teacher isn’t exactly a lucrative business. Having always been a writer, I decided to start freelancing for a few online publications to make some extra income. It started with a few articles here and there about various topics from current events to health to lifestyle. Fast forward a couple of years later, and I was working full-time as a writer and editor at a media company that was one of the top 50 websites visited in the world.
I was working full-time as a writer and editor at one of the top 50 media websites in the world.
I learned a LOT during my time as an editor. I saw how things are done and how content is created in the newsroom. I was behind the scenes for years. In 2018, I left the industry because I simply couldn’t justify it to myself any longer. Mainstream media, which includes all of the popular websites and newspapers you probably read today, is a broken industry with a great many issues. I’m so glad I left it behind and pursued a different career.
These are four reasons why I decided to leave the mainstream media industry.
Much of What You See Online Is Created Unethically
You’d think that a room full of “journalists” would create content based on objective truth and facts, right? You probably picture them sitting down with the latest news or current events, collectively deciding who to interview, how to construct an article, etc. Well, it doesn’t quite work that way. In fact, editors take an entirely backwards approach to creating content.
I saw far too many articles changed or even thrown out completely because they weren’t sensational enough.
They don’t start with facts. They start with a headline. I’ve been in countless meetings where we decide what to write about based on a catchy headline, and the reason it’s done this way is because the headline is the thing that matters most. The main source of revenue for mainstream media companies is advertisements. Large corporations and brands purchase ads on websites, so the more clicks and views that media companies generate, the more ads are purchased. This means that media companies’ first and primary goal is to get as many clicks and views as possible—this is much more important to them than releasing ethically produced content.
During my time as an editor and writer, I saw far too many articles being changed, tweaked, edited, or even thrown out completely because they weren’t sensational enough to generate a ton of clicks and views. I’ve seen editors completely kill an article because the writer dared to say that obesity is a medical condition that wreaks havoc on the human body. This piece was pulled because the editors didn’t want to upset the advertisers, who were always pushing body-positive campaigns.
It was this kind of unethical censoring that I couldn’t stomach any longer. Media companies would rather make big bucks than deliver content that is well-researched, true, and based on facts.
Media Is Full of Hypocrisy
The first glaring example of hypocrisy that I saw arose from body positivity content. All the women writing about how the “beauty standard” is sexist and how obesity is beautiful—they’re all thin, calorie-counting, gym-going ladies who would never in a million years allow themselves to be overweight.
They threw elaborate baby showers for colleagues, yet pushed an enormous amount of pro-abortion content.
I also witnessed every company offer extensive maternity leave packages and throw elaborate baby showers for soon-to-be mothers and congratulate them on their upcoming baby, yet they would push an enormous amount of pro-abortion content and refuse to ever publish anything by a pro-life author. I got sick and tired of watching it all unfold. They didn’t even believe the content they wrote or practice what they preached.
They Want Diversity of Skin Color—Not Competence
Every media company I’ve worked at has been obsessed with diversity. At first, I thought this was a good thing. But it became very clear that they only want superficial diversity—they wanted a room full of people with different skin colors so they could brag in their board meeting about the percentage of people of color they have on the floor. Many times this obsession with diversity is harmful not only to the employees of the company but to the audience as well because it significantly affects the kind of content they’re consuming.
For example, at the last media company I worked for, my team was hiring an assistant editor to work under me. We were interviewing a few great girls who were more than qualified for the position. However, my boss told me she wanted to hire one person who wasn’t at the top of our list because she was black. “I want the perspective of a woman of color,” she said to me. I raised objections because this person had zero writing experience, and her writing samples were abysmal.
My boss hired one woman who wasn’t qualified for the position at all just because she was black.
My department ended up expanding our budget just so we could hire this black woman in addition to another young editor who was extremely qualified. The result: I had to spend multiple extra hours a day editing her articles because this young lady couldn’t write in complete sentences, had little to no grasp on grammar and punctuation, and had no idea how to put together a cohesive article.
This isn’t because the girl wasn’t smart—it was simply because she was not qualified for this particular job and her talents lay elsewhere (she was in video editing previously). But because the executives at our company wanted to add to their diversity quota, employees like me were forced to work overtime to correct other people’s mistakes (it got so bad that I quit shortly after), and the quality of the content significantly dropped.
And They Definitely Don’t Want Diversity of Thought
Even though media companies were obsessed with diversity of skin color, diversity of thought was never something they were interested in. If you for one second expressed an opinion that was slightly different from the office culture, you were banished or treated like a leper.
If you weren’t a far-left progressive and proponent of identity politics, you were exiled or fired.
The meanest, most judgmental people I’ve ever met are from the world of media. It was rare to find a woman who was kind, warm, and supportive. And forget about having a different opinion. If you weren’t a far-left progressive who was on board with every single part of identity politics, you were exiled, or worse, fired. A very talented writer I knew came to me one day and said, “I’m terrified that our boss will find out I’m a registered Republican.” I wasn’t even Republican myself, but the fact that she was scared that people would find out she had a differing political opinion was disturbing.
The media likes to call itself an industry that champions free speech, free thought, and high intellectual capacity. But what it really is is a cesspool of judgemental, hypocritical individuals who are only concerned with making money rather than producing worthy content that will help people live better lives. I’m so glad I got out of there when I did.
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