WE ARE: 5 women navigating our twenties in search of peace, happiness and love (or not). WE WRITE: about everything and nothing. From the insane to the mundane- you will find different paths taken, lessons learned and lives lived. WE THINK: you’ll enjoy it...Warning: Consumption of these views may leave you enlightened while intoxicated.


The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot

Friday, August 21, 2009

Black, White and Read All Over

Can you imagine a world without mail service? Or a world where new movies come right to your home computer/laptop/phone and going to the movies is lamer than it is now? Or a world where there are no newspapers or magazines? Like at all.

I must confess that at one time, I Rum Punch wanted to be a journalist. A real, for real journalist. I was on the high school newspaper and erythang. Went to college with sights set on being a journalist. Until… I had a summer internship with a newspaper in Philly.

Yeah. I hated it. Like hated it. It was nothing like high school. Lol. And so sometime during the summer of 2002, (wow that was a long time ago) I realized that journalism in its truest form was not for me. I was too lazy to chase a story. And I really had no interest in writing what they wanted me to write about it – because I didn't consider it real news. And people deserve real news! Never mind that all journalists have to start from the bottom, do crap stories, and work their way up to their own column and/or in depth feature articles.

But in all this I never lost my respect for the craft that is journalism. Good reporters do just that. They report on the best parts of us. The worst parts of us. The strange parts of us. They examine us. Break us down into short, punchy sentences. Paint our complexities with their words. They transport us to worlds we may have never visited with our own fare. They invite us to learn something new – even though it might be sad and tragic and depressing.

And so it hurts my heart, when I get my daily emails from http://www.mediabistro.com/ (a great place to get news from a variety of sources) and learn that newspapers like the New York Times are broke – leaving me wondering if the smaller publications even stand a chance. Magazines are shutting their offices each day. I mean Reader’s Digest just filed for freakin’ bankruptcy! Journalists are getting laid off and the seasoned, much needed veterans are taking buyouts. Certain newspaper sections like the Washington Post’s Book World are being completely eliminated. It’s all about online, online, online.

And I get it. I mean I blog. But for me there is nothing like taking advantage of a leisurely Sunday, opening the newspaper, and turning it page by page. Reading section by section and then looking up from an article and saying to the nearest person, “you won’t believe this.” I loves filling my monthly hip hop quota and reading VIBE at the hairdresser. I enjoy getting a new magazine in the mail and reading it on the train to work.

And while I understand that blogging, tweeting, et al, are the wave of future and online news is where it’s at, there is something to be said about actually researching a story. Having trusted sources. Fact checking. And then you don’t have embarrassing headlines that name Robert F. Kennedy a former President, which I saw one day on the online version of the Washington Post and I gasped, shook my head and figured the copy editor had taken an early buyout.

When you take your time, when you investigate, when you get your facts straight, you provide the public with a better content, thus making them more educated in the process. And this – even though he did a poor job – is what I think David Simon was trying to do with Season 5 of the Wire. Quick explanation to folks who aren’t Wire fanatics, each season basically examined a certain segment of the population – 1st season was the drug dealers, 2nd season was the dock workers, 3rd season was police & politicians, 4th season was the school system and 5th season was the media.

Simon, a former journalist with the Baltimore Sun was quite critical of the demise of the newspaper industry in The Wires' 5th season and this criticism involved a slightly crazy storyline. But I think the underlying point was that true blue journalism is becoming a dying art, what with the old school news anchors literally dying (my personal fave Peter Jennings passed away awhile ago). And so we are not only losing "trustworthy" faces,* but we are also losing an era that favored facts over sensationalism. A good story over feeding the masses what they wanted to hear. Layered complexities that make you think and ask your own questions. Quality over quantity.

And so while I would hate for print to officially move online - although that seems like the more cost effective option, should we ever get to that point, I want the integrity of journalism to remain. Its core principles to drive the stories that are written. And while I would miss turning the pages, I'd be content in knowing I was still getting content.

That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday

*There is this hilarious Murphy Brown episode where the anchor is criticizing the Brian Williams, a fresh, young faced anchor at the time. And he says, "I don't know about you, but I need my news from an old white man." Heh heh.

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