Monday, October 26, 2009

Thoughts on being a "journalist"

I just posted this comment to my last post before this one:

Took note of the time stamp for this post being after midnight on Sunday ... So surmise when you cite your encounter "earlier today" you mean sometime Saturday.

Was that before or after your Saturday 5:35 p.m. post re the preposterous postulations posted (as comments) on another blog? Given a twisted twine between the twain (entities) that even a cursory investigation will expose ...

(Just) suppose you were to take the cursed advice to heart (that a porter reporter should always heartlessly reveal all she learns, with no self-imposed limitations, relevant or not).

That would be just deserts. But hardly your style and substance.

No reporter that I know takes delight in exposing someone and interestingly enough, I had an exchange last night on Facebook with the man who taught me journalism, on this very topic.

He pointed out that even as a young woman, his pupil, I argued with him about writing things that I didn't think were "relevent" or "of interest to anyone," or even mean-spirited.

But I also had another conversation over the weekend with a third or fourth person (I conversed a lot this weekend) - and this is something I really feel strongly about - you have to know your audience.

So I could bring up, in those Townie Tuesday columns, unpleasant facts that I may have heard about whoever I'm profiling. But even if they made it past the editor, what purpose would it serve?

These people are all contributing to the community in some way; that's the whole point of the column. It begs the question of how much service to your community, if any, cancels out a past misdeed?

When I commented over the weekend that I thought people here liked snarkiness, I got one affirmative response.

Well, yeah ... but where does snarkiness end and just plain mean begin?

I hate the word "journalist," by the way. I use it because it's the term people use, but I don't like it. I think of myself as an observer first and a writer second, and I think "journalist" sounds too impersonal.

Sometimes, when I'm peeved, I get close to or cross a line I have drawn for myself between being merely snarky and just being downright mean ...

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