Sunday, July 31, 2011

A reminder to myself.

I am preparing to lead a class tomorrow at the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation's Frank Bolden Urban Journalism Workshop, on writing ledes. So I've been compiling examples of good and bad ledes, and thinking about how to get the kids to think about how to tell the difference. And a link led me sideways (because the Web is all about going sideways) to a piece titled, "The war on leisurely leads and anecdote addiction."

In it, Bob Baker describes an experiment by the New York Times, wherein they formed an in-house focus group of 10 journalists and had them evaluate the quality of the paper's writing over a 10-day period.

And just as I was getting into the story, this thought popped into my head: I love journalism.

It took me quite by surprise. I would have expected to hear myself say something like, "I really enjoy journalism." I enjoy reporting (on a sufficiently interesting topic). I enjoy writing. And I really enjoy deadlines - I love knowing that come a certain time, what I'm working on will be done. And I enjoy reader feedback.

Hey wait, I just used the L-word again. And now that I think of about it, I enjoy reporting a lot, and maybe I do love it. And I definitely do love to write, although a great deal of the time it scares me witless. I love the chase, the quest for the right words and the right ordering of the words to make facts sing. I have not captured the right words quite that way nearly often enough. But I still love the chase.

And perhaps most importantly I love the fact that journalism done well is important.

I left the Post-Gazette to continue doing journalism with "Homewood Nation." But in making myself editor and publisher, without colleagues, I put myself in a position where it is too easy to drift, led astray by every distraction.

Time to remember what I'm here for. To tell stories.
Post a Comment