Monday, September 28, 2009
I am Grant McCalgan a Rhodes Journalism student from Cape Town. In life there are many people who get stuck in jobs and careers they don’t like, or they get stuck doing a degree at university that they don’t enjoy. I am not one of these people, I love what I study and I know I am going to love being a journalist. Knowledge is power, and I want to make sure that people get the power. One doesn’t need to be overly academic like when reading a philosophical thesis by Plato but one can inform the world about issues and happenings in a reader friendly way. That is what this blog intends on doing , the reader will read on because they want to. I intend on covering interesting topics of discussions within the world of journalism and the media. I have different personal and academic opinions, some say this is bad but I feel it evokes discussion. Many people would say I’m a sexist because of the things I say in classes and tutorials but I am not, i simply say these things because they bring out a discussion of a issue within our society. This holds true for many other issues. We can feel one thing personally and have a different perspective when talking about, I feel that this kind of approach brings a new dynamic to the blog. An even better example is the recent Iran nuclear crisis. I personally feel that they should not have or be building nuclear weapons, but from a discursive and journalistic point of view i don’t think that it is a problem. If certain other counties in the world are allowed nuclear weapons why shouldn’t they be allowed to. These kinds of things are just a few of the kind of topics we will attempt to cover in our blog for the readers. The log is for everyone but it will be specifically aimed at journalists or aspiring journalists. We live in a world with many different opinions on many different things, and a lot of what we read isn’t what we want to, but my blog will be a reflection. A reflection of “I read what I like, I blog what I like”
You’re a journalist. Don’t be offended – it happens to the best of us. It began when you started summarising the debaucherous happenings of last night in your Facebook status, and then when you informed your stalkers and co. on Twitter that you’ve finally managed ‘The Half Lotus’ position in your yoga training.
So – whether you’re aware of it or not – your contribution to live media is considered journalism. Albeit, a journalism that is concerned with ‘ordinary’ individuals; a celebration of those not directly involved in the autopsy of Michael Jackson or Obama’s visions for Guantanamo Bay. You and this blog have this ‘ordinary’ in common.
This blog is written with the intention of addressing the more ‘mundane’ things – the events have become ‘insignificant’ compared to heinous crimes or spectacular celebrities. Yet the commentary on daily life is surprisingly engrossing, why shouldn’t it be when you are engaging with material that is realistic and immediate? It is an opportunity to explore themes that relate to you. Consider punch lines that capture your dilemmas, rather than those of distant and detached idols who mainstream news insists on worshipping.
While you were being convinced to take Glamour’s ‘Who Wore it Better?’ seriously, you forgot that that you had your own opinions – opinions that are more relevant and entertaining. This blog looks at some of the most successful … and unsuccessful journalism, providing critical and entertaining views that reflect your interests. It employs the voice of the ‘ordinary’ person and assumes they’re more sophisticated than what mainstream media would have them be.
Because it’s written by part of the ‘audience’, this blog is accessible and readable. It doesn’t have the pretentiousness that ‘academic’ journalists subtly portray. It’s only authority is derived from the fact that it’s writers come from the readership, creating a loyalty and intimacy that cannot be achieved through mainstream journalism.
Lets take a moment to swallow some academic arrogance and admit that it’s difficult to consume endless traditional, hard news. Yes – take an interest in world around you, but don’t neglect the voice that most echoes yours: the average blogger.
But notice too, apart from shortening paragraphs that serve your diminishing interest in this post, that you have the opportunity to comment. Use your mouth (…an inappropriate instruction for computer media) and engage… simply because you can.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
We all hope to achieve something in our lives, to do great things, to be a success. I know I do, that’s why I’m here as a student at Rhodes University. You see journalism is so much more than just a career; it’s a challenge and opportunity to push the boundaries to the point where you should ask yourself, how far are you willing to go? That’s something I look forward to learning and sharing with my readers because I believe the best journalists are a product of shared experiences and knowledge. It takes us beyond the boundaries of a degree where we don’t just find a story; we temporarily become an intrinsic part of someone’s life. Finally I believe before we are journalists we are human and as tempted as we might be, as our journalistic senses tingle, for a story, our humanity dictates the kind of writer we will become. As an aspiring journalist and a young woman I’ve learnt compassion. To be fortunate enough to glance into someone else’s life, even for a moment, has taught me that journalism and our world isn’t just black and white but a colourful array of greys.
So why do I want to be a journalist? I don’t know. In fact there are days when I look at my life, myself and doubt the most influential decision I will ever make. Then there are those days, the ones which inspire, when being a journalist feels like the one thing that would make sense. No on those days, it’s the only reason that existing in a world so imperfect with such suffering is actually worth it. If I’m honest with myself, I didn’t want this in the beginning but as this question loomed closer, I realise why, just why I would want to plunge myself into a life scouring for stories.
September 12 I found myself in a hospital, a photographer and report along side me; that was one of those day were it suddenly all made sense. I remember watching the expression on a little girls face change as we handed her gifts and the photographer snapped shot of her little hands eagerly tearing away the wrapping. She was chronically ill. The next day as she smiled at me from the between the pages of a local newspaper I knew why I wanted this. That moment of happiness we’d captured and eternalised made everything worth it and I realised writing is a lot bigger than we think. It’s about those rare moments when you read your name alongside something profound that you can feel privileged to have been a part of.
That’s why I want I write.