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A wild gorilla escaped? It's time to reflect
A co-worker told me that on Monday night a gorilla escaped from a zoo in Boston. Whenever a wild gorilla gets loose, for some reason, it makes me stop to reevaluate my current professional situation. Hmmm ... perhaps its because one of my old editors used to call me Monkey Girl. Its a long story.
Although I havent been able to check the veracity of the gorilla escape, Im still in a thinking mood.
There seems to be a huge mystery that surrounds the business of community newspapering. A few weeks ago, a loooong-time Bremerton resident suggested that the Patriot hadnt written enough about the proposed tunnel to satisfy his taste.
Youre afraid of the city, he told me.
I told him there are more important things happening in the city RIGHT NOW, that deserve news coverage. Then I laughed at him for suggesting I was afraid. Thats such a Wild West thing to say. I also took into account that the man had consumed (roughly) an entire pot of hot java and it was probably the coffee talking. With that much caffeine in his system, he couldnt possibly be held accountable for his words.
On Monday afternoon, another Bremerton resident asked me what I would do if my publisher told me not to run a story because it reflected badly on an advertiser. Hmmm ... the classic question of common good vs. the almighty dollar. Like any other story, I would make sure it was fair, balanced (apologies to Fox News Network) and the facts were accurate before it ran. If it were in the publics best interest for the information to be into the community, I would certainly run it.
Where do you folk come up with these questions?
OK, Ive been here long enough to get a little philosophical about why Im in this profession. So here goes.
Im in journalism because there is so little math involved.
No, seriously. Im in journalism because Im nosy by nature and I love listening to people talk and sharing their stories with everyone. I love to have people challenge my beliefs and I thrive on stimulating conversation that has value.
Want to have a discussion on a controversial topic in Bremerton? Im up for that.
Want to take me to bat for something we have or have not written? Bring it on. E-mail me. Snail-mail me. Call me.
Im in journalism because I believe there are three sides to every story: there are the two opposing sides and a third, which is the truth, that lies somewhere in between. As a journalist, it is my job to find that third view point. Thats what I love to do.
And, finally, I have to address the one question I get asked a lot. I mean a lot. Do I ever want to move to a big paper, like one with a 100,000 or so circulation?
No. I really, really, dont. I dont want to be the hit-and-run reporter who goes into a community, talks to a handful of people, writes a story and leaves. Thats not what Im about.
I like to immerse myself into a community; I like to get to know the people I write about. When I meet someone, I want to be able to see if there is a connection between us. I like to attend festivals, eat the food that makes a city a home and get to know the colorful cast of characters every city offers.
There, Ive cracked the mystery of my professional philosophy. And Ive learned to spell philosophy.
Im glad that gorilla escaped.