On One Hand

April 14, 2006

Journalism

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 7:48 pm
Tags: ,

I realize that I hate the cold, dry journalism that I’m being trained in at CU. And I don’t really like the unsubstantial flakiness of a lot of the literature I come across, that seems to be, though packed with images, devoid of meaning. What I’m really interested in is where the lines between the genres blur.

To me writing is an art, and art can’t be rushed. Art can’t be pinned between hard deadlines and restrictive boundaries that kill its creative element. I like journalism, that is, writing from sources with the goal being an honest approach to the truth (with a small t), and there is a way in which deadlines and a need for newsworthiness can help continued generation and relevance. There is value in the kind of writing that focuses on real events and talks about them factually. But I am interested in journalism with a narrative: an element that has been choked out during all of my newspaper experience.

I’m not just a journalism major; I’m also a creative writing major, and I’m studying religion as well. Where the three connect is where I want to be: where news, creativity, and spirituality play in arrangements that satisfy the fullness of the human intellect. And there is no doubt in my mind that there is a market for such a combination in the future of writing. I’ve talked to published writers to get their advice, and I’ve talked to people within journalism and I’ve read all the social comenteries from those who study media and culture. They all seem to agree is that the place media is going is truth with commentery; reality with a twist, in all its myriad manifestations.

I think the world is going through a spiritual crisis. On one hand we have the strict, mind-padding exclusiveness of dogmatic religious faith, which people don’t want to accept anymore. It seems to have been proven false by science, we think, and in a world where our ideological enemies are brought to us by technology and the smallness of an increasingly crowded planet, we realize that our way cannot be defended as simply being the only one. But on the other hand we see the unfeeling material reality brought to us by science, which, taken in itself guts life of purpose, and we don’t want to accept that either. We want religion but we want it to also be compatable with the world and we don’t want it to be exclusive. We want Christianity, to believe that there really is a God who loves us so much he would die for us and holds us in the palm of his hand, but we don’t want to think that gays or non-Christians are going to Hell or to delude ourselves by saying God created the world in 6 days. We want Islam, but not the kind that tells us to condemn the Idolaters, not the kind that gets blamed for theocracies and terrorism and not the kind that forces women to cover their heads whether they like it or not. We want Hinduism without the Caste System. We want the place where there is room for us to be ourselves and where the lines blur.

I’m a member of a religious congregation where not everyone has the same faith. There is a Christian reverend and a Unitarian Universalist minister, and the regulars in the group range from congregationalist to transendentalist. They’re gay, transgender, bisexual, straight, and everything in between, all meeting and talking and praying together in one small room, and we’re disagreeing and we’re all doing it as good friends. We are, I hope, approaching a time when that’s what the whole world is going to look like.

The world is coming together, and all these views are coming together whether we like it or not. Protestant Capitalists in the West are brought face-to-face with fundemental Saudi Islam, Buddhists in Tibet are facing Communist China, Indian Hindus are facing Western Christian missionaries and on and on. All these different cultures and systems are merging and interacting and vying for power, and there is going to be conflict. That conflict can be either peaceful and constructive or it can be violent, it will certainly have elements of both, and those of us who are not in control want someone to talk about it. We do need our news that is objective and factual, so we know what’s going on. But then we want other people to talk and try to make sense of what we see. We need the personal element of the struggle, and that’s exactly what I want to write for. I want to write from facts, write from reason, and write from the subjectivity of personal experience as a person trying to understand humanness inside a world of complex forces.

We don’t want to read about ideologies and conclusions. That’s not the way postmodern literature is moving, though some veer into distractions. (We’re becoming more progressive.) What we’re more interested in is the search, is the laying of hypothesis for non-conclusive consideration, and in reflection of the world as it relates to ourselves. Anything we claim as Truth is going to be proven false. Anything we throw out or ignore is going to come back and bite us. What we need is a way to talk about our problems and consider all the vagueness and the doubt of the human experience, to write where the lines of genre blur, and that is where I want to go with my career.

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5 Comments »

  1. wanna do coffee sometime soon? or something of the sorts?

    Comment by hurley_chik — April 15, 2006 @ 10:07 am | Reply

  2. I think you’ll like this

    http://psycho-active.livejournal.com/5217.html

    Comment by psycho_active — April 16, 2006 @ 5:36 pm | Reply

  3. thats journalism

    thats journalism. do you want to WRITE the news…or do you want to BE the news. if its the latter, then get out of J-school now.

    Comment by Anonymous — April 19, 2006 @ 8:34 am | Reply

    • Re: thats journalism

      What? People who write creative nonfiction are neither WRITING nor BEING the news, because what they are doing is not NEWS. And most creative nonfic. writers are trained in Journalism.

      Comment by ononehand — April 19, 2006 @ 5:04 pm | Reply

    • Re: thats journalism

      Actually I don’t even think this comment has anything to do with the entry.

      Comment by ononehand — April 19, 2006 @ 5:07 pm | Reply


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