Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The voice in journalism.

I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.
Hunter S. Thompson -father of Gonzo journalism
 (extreme version of what I'd like to accomplish.)

I was never interested in journalism to tell the news, I was interested in telling stories.

What I learnt from my first formal instruction in journalism was to tell the facts and keep my opinion out of it. Last year, I took to my blog to express my voice and I took to the classroom to tell the news. But, I never wanted to be a “news teller”.

Growing up I didn’t spend my time reading the newspaper, my introduction to journalism was through the multiple magazine subscriptions my Dad would get in the mail. When the monthly subscriptions arrived I’d quickly scan through the latest copy of Rolling Stone Magazine or Spin Magazine from front to back. (For a short time I was also reading Blender but that was short lived.) Once the initial scan was over I would go back and read the articles with the most enticing headlines or just turn to my favourite journalist of the magazine and read their article.

Andy Greenwald (formerly at Spin) and Chuck Klosterman (formerly at Spin) taught me about journalism and inspired me to be a storyteller. My favourite journalists weren’t decided based on how well they told the facts or how their stories were laid out. My favourite journalists were the ones who had a style, opinion and voice that intrigued me. Greenwald and Klosterman both wrote with a strong voice. We didn’t necessarily agree on everything but their opinions were always interesting. These guys were interviewing people and/or writing the news and their opinions were obviously strewn throughout the article. Their opinions weren’t even hidden or subtle. I fell in love with this style and wrote with my own voice until I was taught differently.

First year Journalism has improved my skills tremendously. My version of a news story was not up to any standards before I was taught better by Steve and Duncan. Although I do leave my voice out of my stories for class.

There are many forms of journalism. And I am grateful to become skilled in all forms. But until I can become a voice that people want to listen to I’ll be telling the facts. I’ll write the news everyday until I am given the opportunity to use my voice.