I didn’t go to journalism school

Printing press:?The ?Cherokee Advocate? became the first newspaper published in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) on Sept. 26, 1844.

I didn’t go to journalism school. I have an English and History degree so I know how to string a few sentences together. Both the boss and I have more in common with journalism from the past than modern journalism. In the past, someone who knew how to string a few sentences together, write a good headline and who had access to a printing press could set up in any town in the Wild West anywhere. If they were any good people would pay to read what they produced. Sometimes they didn’t even need to be any good as if there was no competition they were the only source of news in the area.

I have always viewed the internet as the Wild West. Bloggers and New Media outlets set up shop and produce content and people will either pay for it or they won’t. There are no rules and people either like your content and trust your content or they don’t. Over the years I have been amazed at those who have tried to enforce their made up blog rules on Whaleoil. Real journalists trained and skilled have told us what we should be doing and how we should doing it. Little flea bloggers in New Zealand with an audience of ten people have pontificated on how we are doing it all wrong.

I actually love how we can evolve in response to what we enjoy and what our readers enjoy. There are no rules on how to blog or how to be a new media outlet. It is a creative ever-changing process. I would have never in my wildest dreams, for example, have guessed that Whaleoil would create offline social groups who meet up in various cities. It was something that simply evolved.

It never occurred to me that people would want Whaleoil merchandise. I mean have you ever seen anyone ever proudly wearing a New Zealand Herald?or Stuff cap or Tee or carrying a satirical cotton shopping bag to the Countdown checkout?

Anyway, the inspiration for this post was an online conversation I had with a real-life trained and skilled journalist from a local newspaper. They had posted on the online site Neighbourly asking locals if there were any issues that they were concerned about. I thought that it was an?interesting way to find a topic for a news story so I wrote,

[…] the only thing that springs to mind is the ongoing issue with the public toilets in Arkles Bay. I have lived here 5 years now and in summer they STINK and can be smelled 50 metres away in both directions. I am amazed that the council allow such a disgusting stench to happen year after year.end quote.

I thought that would be the end of it and that the journalist would sift through the responses to find some ideas for a local news story for her to investigate but I was wrong. Apparently, there is one more step involved. Quote.

thanks for taking the time to respond.

Thanks for the story tip – I will pass it on to the team.

In the meantime, could I suggest you post on Neighbourly about the issue and see whether your neighbours are interested or share the same concerns? […] end quote.

I wonder if this is a technique that they teach in journalism school? I thought that real journalists were meant to report the news not create it. I have a feeling that she wants me to create some outrage?so she can report on it. What do you think?

 

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