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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Did nothing spark enough thought in you to maybe write about it?"

Reader-submitted item: Sparking public debate is, for me, the most important thing journalists do. I just wish to see more of that debate talked about on your blog.

This really resonated with me. I'm writing this post in the middle of the night -- I couldn't sleep because I was thinking about what to say. It's very true. As a reporter, you know you've got a great story when you hear people talking about your coverage.

(Forces of Evil: This is not the same thing as reporting it well. You know that. Go away.)

There are quite a few NWT bloggers now, but I think only three of us blog about northern media. The other two are far harsher than I am: they are not nearly as tolerant of errors, nor do they explain journalism issues. As a group, we do not tend to write about things in the news. I notice this same trend in Nunavut and Yukon: the non-journalist bloggers don't usually write about things they've heard on CBC or read in the paper. We tend to write about our own lives and personal interests.

As a journalist, this has got to suck. When you're a reporter, you always have a nasty little voice in the back of your head telling you you're not good enough. (In some newsrooms, the editor fills this role; in others, it's up to the journalist to tear herself apart.) To be putting content out day after day, hoping to get a response, and continually getting NOTHING back from readers -- well, that has to be disheartening.

I really like reading other blogs about current events, but I don't usually do that sort of writing myself. I agree with this reader: it would be nice to have more of it.

As a good-faith gesture, I am offering to do a post on a topic chosen by this reader. E-mail me to set it up: dryas at theedge dot ca. It can be any issue that doesn't involve my employer: I stay away from those issues completely because I do not want it to appear that this blog has anything to do with work. (No good can come of that.)

Thanks for your question.


Anonymous said...

Who is/are the Forces of Evil?

KOTN said...

"When you're a reporter, you always have a nasty little voice in the back of your head telling you you're not good enough."

You are not trying nearly hard enough to drown out that voice, with booze ;)

Mongoose said...

I'm glad I'm not a real reporter then. I find my own reporting fairly satisfactory. :)

Megan said...

There's no such thing as a "fake" reporter, except maybe the guys on the Daily Show. Anyone can call himself a journalist.

If you do original reporting for The Steel Toe, that counts.

A. said...

I've been thinking about whether or not I should give you a topic to write about. I've decided I'm not going to pick a topic.

I don't think it should have to be a forced thing for you to write about something going on in the daily lives of northerners/Ykers, whatever it may be. I think it was wrong of me to expect you to write about what's going on in this fair city because I think you don't honestly care about what is going on. That, or you just don't have it in you to write about something you yourself feel passionate about in the community.


Karen said...

Geez A, from that remark I guess you have a blog somewhere where all you do is pour your heart out about the Northern issues that most affect your life - post a link for us to follow so we can all see what you're writing about. Maybe we can all learn something from such an experienced long-time Northern hand. (You have been here a long time, right? How else would you form such well-informed opinions about Northern issues and know what's important to those of us who have lived here for decades unless you were one of us?)

You're right - no one should be forced to write about something on their personal blog that isn't truly important to them. That's why it is a personal blog - we get to write about what we care about after hours, when most of the time our day jobs heavily involve all sorts of Northern issues, that we can't, or simply don't want to, write about on our own time.

Thanks for understanding that A, and taking the high road. I look forward to your link.