Monday, March 3, 2014

About A Dabble At Journalistic Writing

This past week we did something we've never done before.
We performed an interview, and wrote a "feature article".
It was for a media writing class. Of course we write, all sorts of things, and have for over 20 years now. But never this. And never around the context of an interview-based story. Every kind of writing is different. For instance, we are rubbish at writing fiction, but can pen decent poems/prose, and write some wicked essays and opinion pieces, so it was nice to experiment with journalistic writing.

At first we were really scared, not just nervous. Being social is intermittent, and the interview was with a local group of people in the town we moved to just a year ago. It was first contact! Aside from the next door neighbor, two people who work with James, and the chiropractor, anyway. Hey, that's probably, like, half the town actually.

It was an amazing experience, in that it was an exercise in "keeping our mouth shut" when it comes to writing. Turns out it was a lot easier than anticipated. It helped that the interview subjects were very friendly and genuine, and didn't say anything subversive that we would have wanted to pounce on or shove against.

Believe it or not, real journalism requires that the writer/reporter not interject their own bias or opinion into the piece of media they create. When they do, they are no longer a journalist, they are a news commentator (which it seems like most of them are these days anyway, even those under the guise of news journalism), often (usually) paid by one side or the other to give their bias opinion and push their agenda.

In any case, as any regular reader of this blog knows, keeping our opinions out of things isn't really a forte in our writing toolkit...but with this first major assignment, it seems it could be. As the instructor said today "sounds like you opened up a new vein"...which sounds about right for those who are fond of bleeding words.

The grade is still pending, but we have it on good authority that if it doesn't receive an 'A' the "professor has problems". [Special thanks to Charles Bivona #njpoet of, for the editing assistance]

Of course, when we suggested to James that maybe being a journalist was a possible career path...he said he'd probably file for divorce.

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