All is not lost!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

By: Katie Anthony

I'm not sure about all of you guys, but I definitely find it heartily discouraging that the media is so negative. For the longest time, I thought that I was the only one feeling that way. Little did I know-I was really wrong.

"Stop obsessing about the depressing industry news on Romenesko and open your eyes to all of the amazing stories out there." That quote is from an article written by Beth Macy of the American Journalism Review. It caught my eye since Romenesko is so noted in class about the news it provides. Macy seemed to be on a journey to find the optimism in journalism.

Soon, one person in agreement with me, became two. Macy met Sam Roberts who's story, I found to be extremely hopeful in the case of columnists.

Roberts talks about his experience with being a columnist, and describes it, so sullenly as this, "Of all the jobs I've had at newspapers, being a columnist was probably the least beneficial to my mental health. If you counted all the time I spent worrying about my next column, I made about a dollar an hour."

I found that to be extremely discouraging as an aspiring columnist myself, but nevertheless, I read on.

And two becomes three. Roberts soon encounters Regina Brett, who seems to share his opinion on being a columnist-or so it seems.

Brett, yes, is a very hardworking columnist, but not in the way that Roberts expected. She doesn't ask permission from her editor when it comes to what to write about it, she's extremely organized, and she starts every week with a minimum of six column ideas.

One day, Brett finds herself buying ice cream when she gets lost on her way to an interview (an interview that she was planning on basing her column for the week around), and she asks the teenage African American that served her ice cream, what his plans for school are. He, regretfully, informs her that he wanted to go to a private school to begin his medical career but that he couldn't afford it.

That was it. Brett was sold. This young man would be her column for the week.

Brett calls it that "familiar tug," that had her writing her column. One of her readers felt that tug too. Her reader convinced her husband (who, coincidentally, was a brain surgeon) to allow this young man to shadow him during a brain surgery. In the end, this young man's choice of private school, was paying for his tuition.

Why did I choose this as my blog posting? For, ironically enough, the same reason I chose my last blog entry. There was one quote (or, in this case, two) that stood out to me, and gave me hope that all is not lost when it comes to the journalistic world.

One of the quotes I'm referring to, is said by Roberts. "Being reporters, we're paid to basically get a graduate education in whatever we're interested in! We should be out there all the time, just jumping into the things that make us curious."

And the other one, said by Brett in regards to her opinion on the negativity of journalism today, sums up why I chose to write this particular blog. "We've got the best seat on the Titanic," she says. "And you know what? The band kept playing while the ship went down. That's our job in this — to be the band; to uplift people even as the ship's going down."

So, maybe you don't think that this article focuses on "the news about the news." But, I on the other hand, find the articles that inspire and motivate the young journalists to keep pushing through and excel, to, ultimately, be "the news about the news."


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