I often ask this question myself.
Why the long hours, crap relationships, flirtation with alcoholism and massive stress? Why put up with the fatigue, the sleepless nights dreaming of blank page and total lack of a meaningful social life? Why the hatred and loathing that poisons my life? Why, damn you, why??
Because I believe it is the most important thing to do with my life.
Scrape away the bull shit, the egos, the arrogance and lies, the cheap shots, the made up shit and the nonsense and we come to some kind of reality. A bizarre simple truth to it all.
Think about all the times you have written a story that you get thanks for. Not awards or plaudits from fellow journalists, not praise from PRs or officials for running their shit. But genuine heartfelt thanks.
From a pensioner for sorting out her meals on wheels problem; from a community group for saving their meeting room; from the parents of a ill child who needed help finding a donor.
These people are why I still do this job and it's not from some sort of bloated self importance. The public rely on us to use our newspaper's power, its respect, its influence and its anger to fight their corner. This is important at whatever level we do it. Whatever little we can do to help.
I am not trying to be pious about this. I am a stone cold, horrible selfish cunt most of the time. People who know me, know I love hard stories. The grittier the better. Mayhem and mutilation. I don't get excited by the thought of helping people nor do I crave it. I often underestimate the 'weak' leads and downplay their importance in the news list.
But regardless of how much I scoff at the 'community news' I recognise the massive impact it has on our local areas. A good local paper is its champion. Often it is the last port of call.
This is why I do this. And this is why what we do is worth more than the fuckers in charge will ever know.