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Not just another 1,000th vanity post

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Newsjock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:47 AM
Original message
Not just another 1,000th vanity post
So with this post I blow the wheels off my posting counter, although that's admittedly a much easier task than it was under the old board -- and I don't even hold a candle to the many five-figured posters of DU.

But short of screaming "Yay, me," I'll take a couple of minutes to talk about how DU works inside a real live media operation -- the daily newspaper where I'm sitting right now.

As a source of "latest breaking news," DU is practically unrivaled. Sure, we get alerts from AP and friends, but the posters here are on top of so many news sources from around the world that I often get the first warning of stuff from DU long before I've found it anywhere else. (That was even the case with Johnny Cash, where the few extra minutes of warning gave me the chance to rush back into work and remake our front page to get him out there in at least half of our press run.)

The "general discussion," while often free-wheeling (almost in the extreme these days, but that's another topic entirely), is a very useful spin chamber and background source when big news breaks. While I can turn on CNN and see what the punditocracy thinks of the latest death in Iraq or the latest U.N. proposal or the latest utterances from Wolfowitz and friends, it's at DU that I get a much-needed perspective on how real Americans see the events. That very definitely influences how I present the news of the day, and often even gives me pointers on background information that I can research and add to the newspaper for additional context that might be lacking elsewhere, including in our larger competitors.

For those who decry the "corporate media" as a giant monolith of evil, I'm here to assure you it's just not the case. In my role of editing our front page and picking stories for much of our A section, I almost always have free reign to pick what I see fit -- and that includes a healthy dose of stories that question our government's policies. That's not necessarily a "Democratic" or an "independent" view -- it's an affirmation of the press' constitutionally-protected responsibility to maintain the checks and balances of our system. And in our newsroom, particularly at night, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who feels it's our responsibility to suck up to Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, or any other official -- even, dare I say, Clinton.

Yes, we feel the pressure. Right-wing readers love to write nasty letters. But left-wing readers also write letters, and they're not always glowing. This newspaper isn't a hate-Bush scandal sheet, but it's also not the Bush lovefest that so many newspapers seem to be these days, particularly in smaller markets. (Right now, I'm looking at Friday's front page of the Rapid City Journal from South Dakota. They had the gall to take their big front-page headline, "Never forget," and do it as a cutout outline over a waving Stars and Stripes. Gag.)

When I gave up my high-tech career more than 10 years ago to plunge into journalism, I felt some type of nonspecific "calling." When I moved into daily newspapers back in 1997, I committed to a career path of much lower pay, awful hours, and little thanks.

But in the two years since Sept. 11, a strong sense of purpose and mission has crystallized for me. I'm at this particular newspaper (which, for obvious reasons, I'm not going to name) at this unique time in history for a reason. I'm in a state that's a likely swing state in the 2004 presidential election. I'm in a position where many influential people see my front pages (hopefully) every day. I'm at a newspaper where I'm given extraordinary latitude in what stories I can run. And I've got the support of a local management that's well aware of what our current government is doing to everything this country stands for.

My mission, for as long as I'm able to continue doing it, is to help ensure that this state does not perpetuate the Project for a New American Century empire beyond the 2004 elections and, until then, to make sure a bright light shines upon everything they do or attempt.

Is that "bias"? Perhaps. Is that "un-American"? Quite the opposite. In all the work I've done over the decades, this is quite possibly the most patriotic work I've ever done.

I only hope that I can continue to do so. We know that there's little that this administration won't do to seal and further its power and control over America and the world. And with a big corporate master over me by not too many levels of management, it's entirely possible that this whole world could come crumbling down in a matter of minutes.

But for now, I'm part of a team here that's making sure people know what's really going on, despite what TV is telling them and despite how many other media outlets are trying to scare them. And DU is a big part of my efforts to make that happen.

I thank each of you for contributing to the lively commons that is DU, and I thank those of you who have taken the time to read this.
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LoZoccolo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 01:50 AM
Response to Original message
1. Why did they conceal the posting counter...
...anyways?
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Myra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 02:02 AM
Response to Original message
2. ...
"When I gave up my high-tech career more than 10 years ago to plunge into journalism, I felt some type of nonspecific "calling." When I moved into daily newspapers back in 1997, I committed to a career path of much lower pay, awful hours, and little thanks."

Well...*thanks*.

(I hope that made your 10 year sacrifice worth it. :))

And congrats on the magic 1,000 milestone.

Also, for what it's worth, given that most of the high tech
jobs are now in India, if you hadn't switched you'd likely
be unemployed now.

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kaitykaity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 02:46 AM
Response to Original message
3. And here I am thinking "Get thee to The Lounge with

your bad self."

Oops.

"Thanks". :loveya: :bounce: :beer:
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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 02:48 AM
Response to Original message
4. Hey, newsjock! Congrats! From an ex-newsjockette.
While you joined in, I bailed out. And I'm glad I did because I no longer want my name associated with what currently passes for news and information brokering. EXCEPT... apparently, at YOUR paper. I am heartened to hear that, somewhere, this still exists. Because I look back and remember how hard I tried to be REALLY AND TRULY fair and impartial in my newscasts. I always felt good if people listening to me, who knew my personal politics, would later say that if they didn't already know they wouldn't be able to tell by listening.

Thanks for keeping the faith...

And congrats on the 1000 posts!
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newyawker99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 11:23 AM
Response to Original message
5. Congrats Newsjock!!
Welcome to the 4 digit club!!

:toast: :bounce: :party:
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