I've always thought journalism is one of the best professions because it is a living seminar on how the world works. You get to talk to people about the most interesting thing in their lives and then move on to the next most interesting thing and leave them to the more boring part of their lives.
But the other great aspect, and what drew me to the profession as an aspiring writer, is that as a journalist you are always telling stories. Whether it's a short news agency piece or a 7,000-word magazine article, there has to be a narrative to keep readers interested. They are called "stories" for a reason. It is the difference between journalism and other kinds of writing -- academic, legal, reference -- which are only concerned with conveying information.
I've done a lot of in-the-weeds business and financial reporting, delving into topics like asset-based lending and factoring that sound truly boring. And yet, these people have a story to tell, too. If you hit the right chord, they are passionate about what they are doing and you as a reporter can convey some of that passion by telling their story in a compelling fashion.
I've gotten into editorial management and into the matrixed environment of a Web portal, and these experiences have been interesting and rewarding in their own way, but I'm happy right now to be freelancing as a writer and editor, telling and shaping stories for readers. And now, thanks to the liberating possibilities of digital publishing, I can get back to the wonderful avocation of telling stories in fictional narratives.