Is there anything that is truly “objective” in our world? Can a news organization really be “fair and balanced”? These may seem like noble ideals for reporting on the world around us, but if the standards are often a bit out of reach for most mortals it’s probably better to try for a more human approach. That’s what I’m going to suggest works best for internet based reporting of any kind.
A little time spent with family outside of Bemidji is a good thing. They’re not my immediate family, so to me the stories are just what’s going on in a world I normally don’t think about all that much. For this day after Thanksgiving, I only have a few random thoughts about this world which is only a 4 hour drive from our imagination.
Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday in that it is anything but unique. It is a holiday that transcends all the different people and traditions that came together in this one place to be a different people yet. Our national identity appeals to the most base and simple instincts of everyone and yet reaches for the greater aspirations that are the very spirit humanity. Rather than say the same things over again in a different way, I thought I’d assemble the ways I’ve tried to spell these out before. Follow the links to the original pieces.
It starts with a need to get out of England because the ruling class was making life hard for them. It ends up as one of those myths that anyone can insert whatever truth they want into. The story of the Pilgrims is a worth a hard look because we have a lot in common with them right now – a kind of blind faith that is dangerous not because it comes from optimism or morality but in something even stranger.
Writing as a reporter, a Citizen Journalist, requires a cool touch that can be hard to make exciting. That’s probably why it’s not all that popular on the internet. Most of the writing that we see in a political or newsworthy context isn’t writing to inform but to convince. It usually runs hotter with an urgency that propels the story forward easily. It may be a lot of fun to write, but it is even harder to do well. Writing to convince is a kind of organizing that has its own sense of quality. This is my attempt at defining it.