In my journalism career, I haven’t found writing about anime to be lucrative enough to do full time, no matter how fun it may be. I shared this in my advice to a reader with the caveat, “I really want a passionate anime fan to prove me wrong and make a living off of their reporting.”
Lynzee Lamb has done just that. She’s an associate editor for Anime News Network, author of The List column, and an all-around hardcare anime fan. (She also finds time to update a pretty cool blog about gender and sexuality in anime.)
However amazing it is to be a professional journalist writing exclusively about anime, it’s not all as glamourous as Lynzee’s photo might suggest. I asked Lynzee about the day to day life of an anime journalist and here’s what she had to say:
Otaku Journalist: Tell me about your current job. What do you do for a living?
Lynzee: My current job is broken up into a variety of projects, the largest is writing daily news for Anime News Network. I also contribute to the Interest section, which is similar to a newspaper’s Arts & Entertainment section, and write a weekly column for the Editorial section.
How does that break up into a typical day or, if easier, week?
I work as many hours as I can get which is necessary in this line of work. I work six days a week, most of which is a split shift. I work 3-4 hours in the morning and 3 hours every evening except for Friday. Friday is my only, 100%, day off. I work weekends as well. Thursdays are the busiest because on top of my regular work hours, I also have to put together my column.
Did you have to learn Japanese in order to report on anime news?
I took Japanese in college as a general interest because anime was already a hobby for me at the time. Actually, by college, I’d be more or less consistently watching series since middle school. I’m hardly fluent, however, but I can read katakana, hiragana, and a bit of kanji. Having an idea how sentence structure works is also really useful. Reading Japanese fluently isn’t a requirement, but it is a much sought after skill.
What are the best parts about being an anime journalist?
For me, I’m a news junkie. Of any kind. I like knowing things first which is one reason why I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism in the first place. The other is because I want to make a worthwhile contribution for readers so they can make informed decisions. I am a big believer in the Fourth Estate. On the other hand, a lot of those things don’t play into the entertainment news media, whether it’s E! or anime news. You do, however, get to meet great people and write about fun topics.
On the flipside, what are some sacrifices you’ve had to make?
Let’s talk about the fandom for a second. I’ve written for local papers and ANN simultaneously. Dealing with anime fans means getting laced into, threatened, or mocked on social media about cartoons. While major news publications get their fair share of abusive comments (especially regarding politics), they’re usually between commentors. I don’t know what Anderson Cooper’s twitter account looks like, but it seems like the more exposure your name has the more likely people are going to seek you out to ruin your day.
What is your advice to fans who want to become journalists?
Become journalists first. I’m serious. There’s a whole level of training that goes into being a journalist above a competent ability to write and it’s important. I have encountered so many “citizen journalists” who have no idea what the SPJ Code of Ethics are, the difference between libel and slander and how to prevent being accused of it, and how to establish sources.