Home Contra Costa County Editorial: Is Loving Your Profession Enough?

Editorial: Is Loving Your Profession Enough?

by ECT

My wish for everyone on this planet is to be able to be in a job they love. To be able to say they hate the weekend because their passion for what they do is so great.  After all, if you love what you do, it is not really work anyways.

I took a passion and launched eastcountytoday in 2012 and the rest is history. I feel like I have not worked a day in 8 years. But where should the line be drawn between passion and financial security? Or, should there even be a line?

A CNN article over the weekend was a wake up call that I have chosen to build a business in an industry where just 1 in 5 people have supported local news with some sort of financial effort either through subscription, donation, or membership. It also says 86% said everyone should have access to local news.

Seems contradictory to have 86% want something, but only 20% want to pay for it. It seems financially stupid to stay in a profession where just 1 in 5 want to support it with a financial contribution of some sort and if the trend continues, it may be time to move on.

I am also in an industry where newspapers and online websites continue to close as advertising dollars are drying up–I am even seeing this in East County and 2020 is freaking me out. The truth is, since 2004, more than 2,000 local newspapers in the US have closed. The news industry is in crisis mode as the number of journalists continue to shrink which means less local news and publication staff are doing more with less.

It’s the age-old question of whether to do what you love or seek financial security because anyone in the news industry can tell you it’s a daily grind for little money, long hours and little appreciation—especially with the term #fakenews running wild whenever someone disagrees with an article.

But let’s take a look at the past 30-days of 2019 for example… its been insane to say the least.

It seems like it has been a whirlwind of crazy each day. From homicides, to shootings, to various crimes, to California wildfires to PG&E shutoffs to political nonsense both at the national and state levels to local fiascos in Contra Costa County such as Joe Canciamilla being hit with a potential $150k fine. Then you mix in fun things like Harvest Time Brentwood with all the pumpkin patches, local Halloween events to now getting into pushing Holiday events, things have truly been all over the map.

Short of burnout and a mental breakdown from all the negativity out in this world, I’ve been able to carry on with daily updates because passion is carrying me through difficult times.

It also doesn’t hurt that a month ago we already surpassed all of last years traffic numbers on the site, our social media numbers continues to grow and the demand for more stories has been higher than ever. But if the record setting views on our website don’t result in new revenue, its deflating because traditionally the more demand there is, the higher the cost.

Monday morning gas prices in Antioch, CA (Oct. 14)

The negative here, just so everyone is aware and like every other business out there, operational costs have increased which has cut into already small margins. For example, I’ve had to increase the server loads three times this year, invest in video equipment and we all know gas prices have been rather annoying.  While that might sound like a complaint, its not, its just the cost of doing business.

This ever fluid industry has also made me appreciate all local publications from Claycord, News 24-680, Berkleyside to more traditional papers like the East Bay Times, to the Brentwood Press and the Antioch Herald. I’ve come to realize there is a place for everyone. There is also a need to support everyone and help everyone when possible.

In a world where everyone is attempting to become there own media company, which they should, the actual need for media publications has become much greater because there is more information being put out than ever and at greater speed. Social media meanwhile has become an opportunity for governments to disguise public relation pieces as news.

If publications continue to shrink or even worse they close, it’s the public who will suffer because the Government clearly needs a watchdog.  Someone must sit through those mundane City Council meetings. Someone must be on scene during police activity or fires. Someone must provide community announcements and highlight local people.

That someone might as well be me.

I have the passion for putting our information and even don’t mind taking a beating from time to time for putting out information that maybe sometimes is unpopular, controversial and even tragic–people deserve to know what is going on in their communities.

Simply put, my passion outweighs my need for a large paycheck because what truly scares me is a desk job working 9-to-5.

My answer will always be to do what you love and my hope is everyone will find their passion and turn it into a career as I have.

So How Can You Support help?

Donation (pretty please!!!)
If you like what ECT has done this past year and look forward to 2020, donations are always accepted.  Whether it is a one-time tip or becomes a monthly or annual, its always much appreciated.  To support ECT with a donation, click here.

Website vs. Social Media
Rather than commenting on social media, leave comments on our website. More views on our website also helps our advertisers who help us keep the site open. This is true with any publication. Visit them in their own environment rather than giving social media companies all the traffic.

Become a 2020 Advertiser/Sponsor
Our 2020 rates are now available and would love to partner with local business

Become a Podcast Guest
In December, I will be re-launching our Contra Costa Today podcast. If you want to have a chat, lets schedule a time.

Submit Story Ideas and Story Tips
We would love to provide more community news, send me a tip so I can provide more features and happy news in the community.

Utilize Our Event Calendar
Our event calendar is free and we push out events twice a week. Once in our newsletter and again on Saturdays. If you have an event, simply add it.


Mike Burkholder
Publisher of ECT
[email protected]



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Jg Nov 18, 2019 - 11:15 am

I must admit, ECT has evolved quite a bit. In its early stages it appeared to be a lobbying site for crooked east county politicians. Today ECT can be read as a neutral source of current information. This alone makes ECT far above the fake news we see everyday by bought and paid for news media’s. There is too much fake news and fake politicians. It is getting quite annoying. I can say today that I support ECT unlike a few years back. I hope ECT survives and prospers as one of Contra Costa’s up to date unbiased news sources. Stay neutral and don’t sell out. You will be respected far more. ECT has earned a top spot in east county as far as I am concerned. I will continue recommending it for East County businesses to advertise.

Jim Simmons Nov 18, 2019 - 11:59 am

This site is where I get 90% of my news that I trust. Like anything I do not like some of the things posted but it is what it is. I miss the scanner updates but blame Antioch/Brentwood PD for that. I support this site and hope it continues to thrive for years to come.

Dan Nov 18, 2019 - 12:14 pm

Love or money a question that has been asked since the dawn of time. Glad you found a passion but sad its in an industry that sucks. Keep up the good work.

Rob Broocker Nov 18, 2019 - 8:54 pm

Mike I do like your site. I enjoy staying current on events, but I have found you are more of a blog. You don’t report on things you don’t agree with and I believe that will continue to hurt ECT.

I would hate to see you go away but believe your site is not fair and balanced. It’s your site and you do what you want with it but I believe it has already cost you many followers and advertising money.
I know many people that refuse to follow ECT??‍♂️.

Glad it’s been a good year for you but think about how much better it could be if you were more open to being fair and balanced and tell both side of a story.


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