Journalism Matters: Where to begin?
I should introduce this column properly. The fourth estate is serious stuff, after all. There’s no informed citizenry without journalism. Bad enough with it.
Let me tap the microphone, clear my throat, rattle my notes then, and ask you to bear with me and a hint of formality. I wish to focus — a change for me — and hew to a specific theme. This one seems as rich and worthy as any, as well as close to heart.
Journalism Matters. Yes, the title serves as pun, hinting at holy cause as well as the everyday. I’m endlessly fascinated and hope to share some of my ongoing enthusiasm, I guess, but also to tap why my calling should matter to you, the joys of discovering more about our world right at home, the perils sure, some of what we think we are doing, the fundamentals, how the whole bus sometimes slides and tips into a ditch.
The pretty lights, the catnip that drew me from Aspen, what dazzled, has everything to do with journalism’s promise in Park City. Maybe at The Park Record we can try new things. Maybe if some succeed, they can serve as beacons. Maybe we can be a part of irrigating the burgeoning local news deserts in this thunderous but arid epoch.
So there’s this, too: Telling you about our experiments, seeking your ideas, bringing everyone along on our first steps in that journey of a thousand miles.
Not that I’ve veered so far from the theme with my first two pieces. I’ve recommended at every chance that editors and publishers write a regular column so more people have a better sense of them, who they are, how they think. Even the greatest extroverts, those life-of-the-party types, every party, don’t reach a fraction of the community they would by writing each week.
Doing so also is a chance to stay in close personal touch with deadline and how hard this work can get. This is especially useful for publishers, infamously responsible for everything but who do almost nothing hands-on themselves. Hey, I know. I was one for 14 years, though whatever I did do, I sure did a lot of it.
Long before I had the role, I teased one of my favorite publishers about going to parties and sipping his red wine, pinky out, for work.
“You have no idea how hard this is,” he said, pained. “I’m an introvert.”
It was easy taking wise new colleague Scott Iwasaki’s suggestion to introduce myself in a column my first week, and to trip out my second week on pica poles as a measurement of rapid change in our dinosaur of a medium, 450 years young and still counting, though the days of actual print appear numbered.
Both columns fit a theme I’ve narrowed from “general critic” (in the highest sense), which is fancy talk for writing whatever springs to mind, mainly for the reasons I mentioned. Agree or disagree, like or hate me, you should at least know something of the fool who presumes to edit your local paper.
Yes, I’m a bit caught up, no doubt. But I do believe that like church and state, roads and emergency services and education, local journalism is crucial for a community. I just wonder if I go too far putting us up there with skiing, too.
Don Rogers is the editor of The Park Record. He can be reached at email@example.com or (970) 376-0745.
Emotion permeated the air last Friday night as snow drifted down from the heavens around Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, reflecting in the orange glow of the Olympic and Paralympic cauldron. On stage were three generations of athletes. Some of them basked in the glow of memories from the days they won their gold, silver or bronze medals, while younger future stars had big eyes from sharing moments with their heroes.
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