Monday, August 20, 2007

I'll be no one's lapdog

How do reporters handle all the bull shit? Objectivity is bull shit. Politicians and administrators are seeping, oozing skinsacks of hot, steaming bullshit. And average citizens are wimps. "Oh, don't use my name!" "No, I don't want to be in the paper!" "No, I can't tell you who told me that." What rot. What crap! So I push it a little. But how many sources do I burn before no one will talk to me anymore? And this is just the podunk tribune with a circulation the size of a dime bag! Ha! Some watchdog.

[insert hysteria]

I should go back to writing plays. If only they paid so regularly.


laurie said...

well, you have to compartmentalize. don't just lump everything together as bullshit, or you'll feel paralyzed.

objectivity isn't bullshit--it's a goal. maybe unachievable, but a goal nonetheless, and a noble one. strive for it. strive to see all points of view.

politicians--well, they'll lie to you. they'll tell you stuff for a reason, for their own reason. all you can do is quote accurately, and verify, verify, verify. ask for documentation. try to figure out what their game is.

and as for average citizens--well, you don't burn sources who are average citizens. they don't understand how journalism works, so that's not really fair. you gotta get back to them. circle back. ask again. be nice. be super nice.

remind them of the goal: telling the truth. telling the full story.

sometimes it works.

Amy said...

Yes, I felt paralyzed. I felt much better after I vented. I really needed to blow off some steam. Better on the blog than in the paper. Sometimes I just want to write an opinion article to go along with the objective one. Sometimes I just want to say that shit stinks.

I think one of my strengths as a person and as a writer is seeing many points of view. It's also one of my weaknesses. But being fair doesn't always mean being equal, and that's a pretty hard sell.

For the record, I will not burn an average citizen.

Elected officials are another story. I live in a small city full of very big egos. We need each other, and I'm still learning the ropes as far as who's holding whom over a barrel.

Laurie, thank you for the calm and reason. Over the years, how many beers has it taken to get there?

laurie said...

not as many now as it did at one time. at one time it took many many beers, on a daily basis.

laurie said...

just remember that your job is to bear witness. you observe and record. you are the eyes and ears of those who can't be there.

it's really that simple. and that complicated.

it means that your point of view is crucial, but your opinion is meaningless.