Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

Politicians and Journalists: Never the two shall meet

In Blog Culture, Journalism, Political on November 14, 2010 at 6:42 pm

I was invited to join a group called the UAF Campus Democrats. As a liberal individual I heartily accepted. I was excited. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while now, you know with what frequency I engaged this blog into the political fray. I wanted more. I wanted to do more. I wanted to both comment on politics and help influence them.

Except that I have a problem. Not with the clubs members, the club, or it’s principles. The problem is me.

As a journalist I feel being affiliated with any political organization is seen as a bias. As a matter of fact, I am an Undeclared voter. Just like 37 percent of all Alaskans.

And let me tell you something. It sucks. As one of my oldest friends used to say: “this sucks large unpleasant things.” Attempting to maintain objectivity is exhausting and impossible. I have my own opinions…I have my own bias. The real challenge is being aware of them and acknowledging them. However, acknowledging them and limiting them is not the same as indulging them. As a news writer there has to be some ethical line that cannot be crossed. This is that line. Stepping over it may only be seen as a breach of ethics to myself, but I am my toughest critic and I expect perfection.

So, to my friends in the club-that-I-cannot-participate-in-due-to-that-pesky-thing-called-“ethics”: I apologize. I wanted to join you so much that I almost compromised my ethics to accompany you. Take that as a compliment. My philosophical inclinations support you but my sense of journalistic neutrality stops me dead in my tracks. Go on with out me and know that I’m rooting you on from the sidelines.


a BEAT journalist, man

In Poetry on November 6, 2010 at 1:43 am

I am a journalist.
Do you know what that means?
It means you can trust me.
It means you can trust my opinion to be my opinion.
Just the facts, man?
Just the facts, as seen through one man’s eyes…
through his pen and onto paper.
You don’t like my asking questions?
I don’t like your evasive maneuvering.
But hey, man, we all do it.
You forgive me and maybe, just maybe, I’ll forgive you.

Let’s talk, man.
That’s all I want to do.
What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
Do you know what a scrum is?
Have you worked in a garden?
Have you read any Tolstoy?

I know what those things are, but barely.
Tell me what you know,
Tell me what you can.
I understand the underside of your subconscious.
Things are at work and at play that we can’t even begin to comprehend.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

As I see it:
Every person is different.
Everybody has their own perspective.
I see taupe, maybe you see pink.
Where I see style, you see simple cloth and jean.
A man is made by his smile,
by his hand shake.
There is no nut graph for human interaction.
No fair and balanced way to size someone up based on one meeting.
Sherlock Holmes taught me that Sherlock Holmes doesn’t exist.
That a first impression can be made onto silly putty,
Hold off on the permanent cement until…when?
Until never, I think.
Who I am today,
What I ask of you today,
Is not the same as what I will say tomorrow.
I follow the breakfast-style school of thought.
That the events of a single day can be traced back…to this morning burnt toast.
To that late alarm.
To a child’s 4AM scream.
To a river of dog piss outside your bedroom door.
To no underwear.
Where’s my argyle socks?
Where’s my camera?
Did I leave my keys in my vest, basket, table, hat, closet, coat, work, car, bag?

As I understand it, nothing happens for a reason.
We tack the reasons on after we reason ourselves out of our beds.

But, I digress…we were talking about you.
I am asking you questions about who you are, what you do.
Who do you love? What’s on your list today?
I’m just asking questions
Just prodding at your ribs for the marrow of truth.
The truth as you see it.
And hey, that’s okay.
We are all spectators watching players watching spectators.
What I write down now may never matter to you again,
But it may matter to me.
Or vice versa. Who knows? I certainly don’t.
I don’t want to know.
I just want to know what you know.
Don’t ham it up.
Don’t grin into the camera.
Show me you.
Let me take off my masque so I can see your masque all the better.
Maybe your masque is a lack of one.
Maybe mine is, too.

Who knows?
I know.
Trust me, I’m a reporter.

-A Beat poem by: Jeremia Schrock

How to be a journalist

In Journalism on November 5, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Three easy steps:

  1. Personality.
  2. Talent.
  3. Connections.

You can get by and be good on personality and connections (people do it all the time) but you can surpass and be excellent if you posses all three.

Theodore Roosevelt wants you to criticize the president

In Political, Quotes on October 23, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Who can possibly disagree with this?

The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.

Well, I’m sure a fascist or Stalinist would, easy.

This quote is important to remember, especially in response to the elected officials of recent memory. We had way too much of this “don’t judge the president” business with George W. Bush and now I, as a liberal, face the same problem with our current President for whom I voted for. I think he’s fantastic, and is the only person I would ever not address by his first name, but this “yes, no wait” policy with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell really gets under my skin. To say nothing of his bailout of the auto industry.

To be concise: We should try and do our best to not keep silent for the sake of “the party”, not when “the party” is the people themselves. We cast ballots, and those ballots determine who speaks for us and who doesn’t. People can feel, as it is their right to feel whatever they want, that their voice doesn’t matter. That the majority will rule, regardless. Well, yes, the majority will always rule, but having a voice is better then no voice at all.

Or is it?

Feel free to criticize me, by the way. I’m open to reasonable and intelligent discourse anytime.

Woe be to the “Liberal Blogger”

In Political on October 18, 2010 at 5:24 am

This just in: Bloggers, beware! Joe Miller doesn’t like people asking him questions.

This is a follow-up to last nights post on the Hopfinger incident. For more, please visit the Anchorage Daily News who broke the story.

Well, in my post last night I said “I look forward to hearing Miller’s defense/apology within the next day or so.” Well, there it is. Joe Miller’s response: It isn’t my securities fault, it’s that liberal blogger’s fault. He shouldn’t have tried so hard to ask me questions.

What is particulalrly interesting is how Miller’s security, and Miller himself, have two different opinions on the matter.

Two quote an obviously heated article by the Alaska Dispatch itself (the online news source Hopfinger is editor of):

Fulton said that as a security guard he is familiar with state law, and he believes he has the legal authority to police “private events” no matter where might take place. He refused to answer how exactly a member of the public attending Miller’s town hall meeting at a public school was supposed to know it was a private event, but said the Joe Miller sign outside was the giveaway…”This is a simple trespassing issue,” Fulton insisted, but no one else trespassing in the hallway with Hopfinger was detained.

Now, compare that with Miller’s own press release:

“While I’ve gotten used to the blog Alaska Dispatch’s assault on me and my family, I never thought that it would lead to a physical assault. It’s too bad that this blogger would take advantage of a “Town Hall” meeting to create a publicity stunt just two weeks before the election.”

So…is it a private event or a Town Hall meeting? It can’t be both, dude.

What also gets me is Miller’s attempt to minimize the Alaska Dispatch. Relegating it to just a blog. Which it isn’t. It does have a blog, the Bush Pilot (which I enjoy) but it’s primary function is that of a respectable online news source that has broken several national stories. In fact, it was an online article published by the ADN that broke this story. Would you call the ADN just a blog? I think not.

Those Sweet Old Blogging Blues

In Alaskana, Art, Cinema, Culture, Drink, Health, Music Reviews, Political, UAF on October 4, 2010 at 3:22 am

I plan on writing an actual update sometime early this week. However, before then, I wanted to throw out a few topics I plan on writing about which include health, journalism, music, and politics.

Why? Because I want to do something with the blog tonight/this morning but have no energy for anything investigative (i.e. that isn’t already in my head and doesn’t involve anything more then spellchecker and Google). You know the mood…where you want to feel productive, so you get away with “thinking” about being productive?

Yeah, it’s kind of like that.

Topics for future posts:

Health: Asthma; the Life Insurance process
Journalism: How to Write a Decent News Article; the Ethics of Journalism
Local Music Review: For both Feeding Frenzy and Good Dazes’ (Germ of Creation) new albums; Blurb about a buyers experience at the recent Record Expo.
Non-Local Music Review: Serj Tankian’s new album Imperfect Harmonies and Maroon5’s Hands All Over.
UAF: ASUAF Summer Senate Score Card; Photo slide-show of two university professors research.
State Politics: Scott McAdams and Lisa Murkowski position overviews (to match the one I did for Joe Miller).
History: What Norwegian Vikings Can Tell Us About Masculinity; something with Teddy Roosevelt since it’s his birthday this month.
Film: Maybe something on the Scandinavian Cinema Society I have recently formed with a fellow film enthusiast.
Drink: Brew Reviews-ala-the Northern Light

There are many other things I can and will write about. Some of them I haven’t even thought of yet!  I understand this post could be considered “lame”, but I try to view it as a “teaser” of future posts to come. Feedback is always appreciated.