Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Saturday, April 16, 2011

It's time for me to talk about my blog again. Goddamn It.

In a recent Anime News Editorial Marzgurl said something that really got me thinking. She prefaced the editorial to tell her audience that she does not do these in order to try to be a journalist. Before I continue with this post let me say that I really respect and even like Marzgurl. She was doing what any good writer nay any good business person should do, making a statement of principles and revisiting it when their audience or consumers object to that statement of principles. She has the right to define what she does, but what she said made me think.

It happens all the time. National newspapers and radio stations pick up a story from the local news and repackage it for another audience. That has some journalistic value, at least as long as you don't flat out rip people off.

It made me think about what I am doing. The truth of the matter is I still don't know what this blog is suppose to be. I'm just doing stuff. Sometimes I want to be a journalist. I went to school for it and respect the work. Other times I don't. I said it before and I will say it again. I threw an arrow at the major dartboard.

I left U of M and went to a community college because I didn't know what else do, and my parents were pushing me to stay in school. I had no sense of direction and still don't. I just took a bunch of classes I thought I would be interested in and was lucky enough that they transferred. I had to fill out the Michigan State application and went, "Okay what do I want to do? Well I kind of like writing." For more on that experience read Fallen Warrior, and yes that was a shameless plug.

When I do dip my toe in the journalism waters, like those city council meetings it's because it's work I think has value and that's something I feel I personally need right now. I don't have a job, and I don't see one coming anytime soon. I need to do something that at least makes me feel like a productive member of society.

That said, I am afraid of going whole hog with it on this blog. There are a bunch of reasons for this. First off I don't have the resources or the credentials to do it without taking on a crap ton of risk. The more of these public meetings I go to the more I think about doing interviews. The problem with that is I do not want my blog to become some political tool. The normal way to prevent that is with variety but, at least in my head the following phone call goes differently for a blogger.

Me: Hello
Possible Interviewee: Hello
Me: I'm a blogger and just finished an interview with someone about a story that involves you. Would you care to comment?

If I were from a larger organization they would know or at least be aware of the possibility that the story would be printed and read with or without their comments and it would be in their interest to say something. From a little guy like me, not a chance, and I don't want to just get the side of the story that's willing to talk to anybody. And worse be known as the guy who just gets the side of the story that's willing to talk to anybody.

Note: This is not a hypothetical there is a pretty important issue getting ignored with tuition release. I am pretty sure I could get the parents to talk to me. They've gone to the school board consistently since February and look like they would do anything to open up the conversation, but I seriously doubt I could get the school board to talk to me.

Beyond that this blog started out as place to put my very personal writing. I want to keep it that way. I have my own somewhat fuzzy rules on when and how personal I get, but if I turn this into a news site or rather if I decide to go whole hog with journalism it brings up a series of ethical questions about my writing.

My writing is always best when it is personal. That is a truth I cannot avoid. Right now I deal by tagging things and hoping my audience is intelligent enough to know when I'm writing in my news voice, my literary voice, my pissed off voice, or my Miles from round the way voice.

The one ethical conversation in my J-school classes that always rubbed me the wrong me were the ones on role segregation. I like to write. While being a newsy has value I like writing for the simple sake of writing more. People expect journalists to be journalists all the time. I can't deny that yes, sometimes I put on my journalism hat, but I want this blog to be more. I created it as a place where I could say the things I can't in real life. I created it so I can be all the versions of myself I can't be in real life. I don't want to give that up.

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