In 1969, US and South Vietnamese troops captured Hill 937 in Thua Thien Province, Vietnam after 10 days of bitter fighting. The hill was later called “Hamburger Hill” because of the high casualties from 10 assaults on the hill. The US and South Vietnam lost 72, the Vietnamese People’s Army reportedly lost 675.
Now, Manila broadsheet Burger Times has lost less than that but you have to wonder at the rate they go through reporters. Their reporters, arguably among the best and most hard-working in the industry, have been leaving in droves in the past couple of years.
It has gotten so bad at one beat that they don’t even bother updating the entry for Burger Times on their list of accredited media outfits anymore. Now, we hear they may lose around 10 more, a loss that would wipe out other smaller newspapers. Before the year ends, they will already have lost four reporters.
And that’s probably par for the course. Journalism isn’t for everyone, and it’s a cut-throat business where it’s sink or swim from Day One. Maybe they’re losing reporters who were never meant to be reporters in the first place.
Except the reporters they’ve lost have ended up reporters somewhere else: other national papers, the outsourcing office of a in international financial newspaper, a community paper in Hong Kong, that sort of thing.
Because of the small community that people in newspapers move around in, everybody else who has had a byline knows about the demanding desk at Burger Times and very few will wager their jobs for a chance to work there.
So Burger Times hires fresh graduates and sends them out to dash themselves against the rocks, basically. And when these fresh graduates–some of whom did not even go to journalism school–fail, they get pounced on by the Burger Times desk for not knowing how to do their jobs, which they would probably learn to do eventually if the desk stopped hovering over them like helicopter moms with cruel hearts.
Anyway, here’s to the ones that didn’t make it.