Monday, November 5, 2012

#602: On becoming a news junkie

Before I became a reporter, I pretty-much hated the news. Never read it, watched it or listened to it. Had no real use for "current events." Closest I got to reading a newspaper was skimming thru some long non-fiction piece in ROLLING STONE.
But somewhere along the way I got hooked on the work of journalists like Hunter S. Thompson, John McPhee, Tim Cahill. & when I got to Journalism School, I hoped that -- if I had 1/2 the writing talent I THOT I had -- maybe I could figure-out some lighter, more personal, funnier approach to writing 4 newspapers.
"Personality features" were always my favorite assignments at J-school. Something where you could loosen the rules a little bit, let some of your subject's personality in -- have some FUN with the writing. Wasn't until YEARS later that I realized you could do the same thing with sportswriting -- practically ALL the time....
On my good days, when I could write some real-life comedy (33 Thanksgiving turkeys delivered to a local resident due to a computer glitch -- she donated them to the Senior Center; old couple gives up growing a lawn & replaces it with multi-colored carpets -- causing car wrecks in front of their house), I thot I DID contribute something new & unique 2 the newspapers I worked 4. It was a joy 2 share a laugh with readers on the front page. & every fun story was like a gift from God -- most of them practically wrote themselves. They were almost effortless.
I couldn't see why EVERY reporter didn't do them.
They were also a great break from the usual grind of car wrecks, murders, trials, council meetings, DWI arrests, drug busts & political stupidity that is the avg reporter's daily diet. Journalism is a great career 4 a young person with lotsa energy & no social life. If you're a little older, with a Significant Other & a family, the job will eat you up. Because it never stops.
I don't look at newspapers much anymore, because most of them just make me want to know MORE. Or I wonder why the reporter doesn't journey much past the just-the-facts approach. Why so few reporters seem 2 do the daily job with much STYLE. They may be accurate, but they aren't that much fun 2 read.
I DO read local newspaper COLUMNISTS. The FUNNY 1's. & I wish there were MORE....
I have a little more fun with TV news, tho it can B frustrating 2. I gave up on most TV political coverage months ago -- the way the national media were more intrested in Herman Cain's Women Problems or Rick Perry's Senior Moments than they were in Xplaining Romney's plan to save the country. Besides, I'm pretty-much sick of the prez election & grateful that by this time Tues nite our long national nightmare will be over. Or perhaps it will be just beginning....
In addition 2 being great waking-up TV, I'd agree that nothing unites us like the national news-media in times of crisis -- Hurricane Sandy (Proof that there's No God: The Atlantic City Boardwalk is destroyed, but Snooki's house is OK), Katrina, 9/11, the Challenger explosion, etc. I just wish they worked up 2 their potential more often.
On the night before Election Day, you may know where Obama & Romney stand on some of the issues, but do you know what their plans 4 the future are? Do they have any clear, substantial, detailed plans for saving this country?
I don't think turning the clock back 2 1980 is a vision 4 the future. But clearly there R millions of people who wouldn't mind going back there. Or who didn't learn anything the 1st time around.

My news addiction has even gotten in the way at work. I haven't been playing much music lately. (Still recovering from the batch of strange CDs Crabby sent me awhile back -- Cromagnon's CAVE ROCK may have scarred me 4 life....) I'll get back 2 it, of course -- but mainly over the past week or so I've been listening 2 Seattle's news-radio station, KOMO. Tho they have a definite format they repeat each hour, the great thing about the news is that it CHANGES -- unlike the playlists at all the local rock stations.
Have listened 2 a little music that's grabbed me, tho -- Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring," Beatles' "A Day in the Life," Who's "Love, Reign O'er Me," Led Zep's "When the Levee Breaks," Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" & "I Want You," Cat Power's "He War" & "Speak for Me," part of a track off the new Neil Young album, "Walk Like a Giant" (which sounds a little like the return of "Like a Hurricane") -- & some great trax by classic late-'60s psychedelic band Love: "Alone Again Or," "Maybe the People Should Be the Times," "You Set the Scene," "Your Mind and We Belong Together."
These last replayed while reading Andrew Hultkrans's book-length look at Love's 1967 cult-classic album FOREVER CHANGES -- not sure I buy all Hultkrans' claims 4 what influenced Love-leader Arthur Lee 2 write the songs 4 FOREVER CHANGES, but the album turned out a mostly-gorgeous period piece anyway, a great forgotten companion 2 SGT. PEPPER and PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN (and DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED). Should have a review of the book posted soon....

1 comment:

R S Crabb said...

Hey Tad,
Told ya Cromagon Cave Rock was the strangest album I ever encountered. Once you hear it you'll never forget it. Cheers!