Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Barbaric Assignment

This is a advice column for Journalism students.

Barbaric assignment?

Dear Coach,
I just found out I am covering the rodeo this summer. It is
a huge deal here ..., lasting a few weeks. I hate bulls, bull riding, steer
wrestling, all the events that to me just reek of animal cruelty. Can I refuse
the assignment? How should I deal with a reporting project that I think is
barbaric, with values that make me cringe? – No Bull, Please

Dear No Bull:
Please do not make the mistake this early in your career
of refusing to cover a story because you think the subject is “barbaric.”

This has nothing to do with rodeos. It has everything to do with you.
If you were asked to cover a KKK rally, would you not go because you thought
the KKK immoral?

If you were asked to cover an execution, would you refuse because you
didn’t agree with capital punishment?

A reporter’s job is to deal with the community fairly, accurately,
contextually – without reservation or bias.

Your first obligation is to the truth, just as a doctor’s first obligation
is to heal, or a judge's is to justice. That's why doctors treat enemy
soldiers and judges rule in ways that aren’t always in line with their
personal views.

Some people think rodeos are cruel. But rodeo fans don’t think that at
You are being asked to cover a rodeo – to discover the who, what and why
of the folks who go there and love it. To give people who are not there a sense
of what it is like to be there. Who goes to rodeos? Men, women, white people,
people of different races? What do they like about it? What role does it play in
their community? Where do rodeos fit into American sports, in general? Are they
rising? Fading?

If you bridle at every topic you don’t personally like, then maybe
reporting isn’t for you after all. And that’s OK, too.

For the most part I agree with the journalism "coach". If you are assigned a story you cover it. Sometimes you cover stories that you don't agree with, it comes with the territory. For example I wrote a story on Black republicans. I had to attend a couple of their meetings and try not to roll my eyes or gag. With that said there is NO WAY in HELL I would cover a KKK meetings. Most likely they would never been a Black reporter to cover a KKK meeting but if any editor had ideas, I wouldn't go. NEVER. I don't care if it costs me my job. Rodeos I'll cover. Not a problem.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

I'm Not Buying Any More Gifts!

DEAR MARGO: I am 43 years old and single with many friends, almost all of whom are married with more than one child. Over the years I have been invited (and, of course, had to bring or send a gift) to all of my friends' engagement parties, bridal showers, weddings, baby showers, christenings, communions and some birthday parties.
I am now being invited to Sweet 16 parties and being asked for donations for cheerleading events and other fundraisers. Next come school graduations. When will it stop? Perhaps the real question is, how can I put an end to it? Even if I do not go to the parties, the proper thing to do is to send a gift, which defeats the purpose of not going.
I do not want to sound selfish, but I feel as if I have given enough. Would it be rude to throw myself a party (perhaps for my 45th birthday) and register somewhere for gifts?

DEAR SING: I sympathize with your feelings about all the presents you feel obligated to buy with no chance for reciprocity. I disagree that if you don't go, you need to send a gift. You can surely skip the kid-related things unless you have a special relationship with the child.
And oftentimes it really is the thought that counts. There are inexpensive things that are appropriate and serve the purpose. (And no, you may not register, but you certainly could throw yourself a party. I suspect most guests will crash through with a gift, but it will be of their choosing.)

It sucks being single! I'm not close to 43 but I am beginning to see a influx of engagement, bridal shower, wedding and birthday invitations (sometimes from the same person). It's not that I don't want to share in your "events" but it fucked up that I bought an engagement, christenings, and a birthday gift for a couple friend and their daughter this year. You know what they got me for my birthday jack shit! Basically I'm not buying any more gifts or I'm going to do like that guy and start throwing parties for myself and registering for gifts.

ps. There's a old Sex and The City episode where Carrie makes this same point!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Party Like A Rock Star

That song was given to my coworker and myself as our theme song by her boss. In the past three weeks we have organized three happy hours....long happy hours. It's been fun getting to know them. Too much fun. I'm kinda glad I get to take next week off as my liver recovers.