November 02, 2005

Why I don't like Journalism

I'm sitting at home late last night, listening to some "scary" music on All Saint's Day, wondering as I read the next few chapters in "It Ain't Necessarily So" why I don't like journalism--is it me? Is it the reporters? what is it?

Then I realized what it is. I hate facts. Not useless facts, those are fun!

But I hate that there are certain rules, and that you can't bend them. That does not that there arent rules in creative writing--it just means that the rules that are there can be bent, which appeals to me as a writer.

This isn't a blog entry to destroy Dr. Jerz, or to say that is a bad professor. Quite the opposite actually. I think Dr. Jerz is an excellent professor who sometimes just talks a little too much (not that im one to talk all the time).

I just don't like being told "you have to write this way or that way." I like "you CAN write it this way, OR you CAN write this way--have fun with the way you write, be creative!"

And that, ladies and germs, is why I don't like journalism.

Posted by lougagliardi at November 2, 2005 01:10 PM | TrackBack

I didnt expect this article to produce this much of a "discussion"!

To answer your question had I ever read it--no, i did not.

Posted by: Lou Gagliardi at November 13, 2005 01:23 AM

Lou, have you read Truman Capote's *In Cold Blood*? It's a non-fiction novel -- a "true crime" story.

And the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a long story on the woman who faked a pregnancy, then hit a pregnant neighbor over the head and tried to cut the baby out of her womb.

Take a look at these to see how one CAN write with facts, without crushing the creativity and emotion out of the story.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at November 13, 2005 12:43 AM

Here's an idea: plot a fiction story (something really wild and fantastic) and then write it as if it were a news story. You might have fun with journalism that way (writers for the Weekly World News do it all the time, after all), while also learning more about it without yanking the plug completley out from the wall as you seem to be doing in your newswriting class. The real creative writer will accept any challenge and eagerly plays within the rules and limitations they're given, no matter what the assignment -- whether for a teacher or for an editor. Seize every challenge as an opportunity to "play." Sometimes the most constricting of forms (like, say, poetry, let alone lead feature writing) can generate the best outcomes.

Posted by: Mike Arnzen at November 12, 2005 06:29 PM

Let me say first off-thank you to all of you, it's nice to see that it isn't just Dr. Jerz reading my blog. lol.

Second, let me say that I was not in any way, shape, or form trying to put down the "rules" journalism. The exact opposite in fact, I was saying that they are there for a reason, but that I can't stand them.

There are many of times that I have seriously considered changing my major to journalism instead creative writing because I'd get more writing. But then I realized I'd be lying to myself; I wouldn't be doing what I'd want to do--and that's writing outside of the "box"

See, Andy, your exactly write (ok..bad pun, sorry) writing is like football--in that there's not only are there different levels of play, but there's also different leagues.

There's NFL Europe-where washed up players, or rookies go to better at, or rejuvenate, their careers. I'd say that's the level college students are in Year 1 (or 2)

There's the NFL--That's where a veteran, or rookie goes once they "mastered" the game of football. This is where your college professors, your Trib-Review writers, and your 2 1/2, 3rd, and 4th year students are..


there's the CFL (Canadian Football League eh)--This is creative writing. Where the rules are different, where for some people it's more fun. This is where you it can be 4th and 30--and that's without penalties. This league is where some veterans come after giving the other leagues a try, and not finding it as worthwhile. This is where the rookie comes after finding the NFL too constricting, or he finds it to be the "No Fun League". This is where your Stephen King, your Anne Rice, your Mallory Kane are in the writing world. They play by different rules. They challenge what they know, what the rules are, and they make the "game" better and more challenging. Some of them (Stephen King, Mallory Kane) tried the other leagues, and founding it boring. They didn't like the idea of "the facts ma'am. just the facts." and that's the way it is. They wanted to go where it was "the facts ma'am, just the facts...and well maybe a little or a lot extra."

So you can have your rules, you can have your standards. You can go to the league that only pays for you one play, then repeats that play all over the world.

I'll go to the league that will pay for that play, and expect me to make something new and unconstricting--and get paid for that one too ;)

Oh, and Kayla, I don't hate my classes for the record. I don't find them all a waste. Heck, Newswriting is interesting and taught by a guy that I didn't know alot about in my first class with him ever last semester.

I just don't like playing by the rules. LOL.

Peace folks!

Posted by: Lou Gagliardi at November 4, 2005 03:20 PM

I agree with both Andy and Kayla. However, I understand what you are saying. Restrictions can prove to be stiffling at times, but remember that these restrictions are often times guidelines, it might help you to write what you feel and then revise it to fit the "rules". Write from your heart first, then mold it. It helps a lot, trust me.

Think of the restrictions as a challange, try and fit all that you want to say into the puzzle, that's all it is. Besides "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger".

Posted by: Michelle Kathryn at November 4, 2005 12:07 PM

Lou, I agree with you on having to write within boundaries. It seems rendundant to have every journalist in the world writing by the same standards and the same rules. I think I have a pretty good analogy for this situation.

You're a football fan right? In football, there is a distinct set of rules. You can't move on the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped. You can't hit the quarterback after the ball is thrown. And you drag both feet in bounds for it to be considered a catch. Like football, journalism has it's own set of rules, such as the inverted pyramid and having correct quotes. The point is that there are different skill levels in football as well as in newswriting. Obviously, NFL players know how to play within the rules better than high school players. Well, the same applies in the world of journalism. The great writers know how to use the rules to their advantage and excel within the quidelines.

I'm not saying that I like restrictions, but as Kayla said, it really does show you new perspectives.

Posted by: Andy LoNigro at November 4, 2005 12:20 AM

Kayla, I like your way of thinking. You'll be a stronger all-around writer if you can master more than one style of writing, just as you are a stronger all-around student if you are exposed to more than one way of thinking.

That's part of the value of being at a liberal arts institution, where everyone is expected to be a little bit of a scientist, a little bit of an historian, a little bit of a philosopher/theologian, a little bit of an artist, etc.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at November 3, 2005 11:50 PM

News writing is a bit like puzzle. I think itís just as fun ditching rules to get a secondary effect for creative writing, as it is to put the best bits of information together in the best possible order for news writing. Either way itís a challenge, and there is creativity involved.

I think it would be great to take many different writing classes at once. At the moment I get to go from news writing, to personal, stream-of-consciousness prose, to analytical writing (or trying to be analytical), and then back again. Itís quite a ride. I think it's fun to shift into different writing styles. Think of how fantastic it would be to be able to master them.

Or maybe Iím just new and terribly naÔve. Either way, Iíve havenít succumbed to the ďI hate SHU, my classes are a wasteĒ ANGSTFEST.

Posted by: Kayla Sawyer at November 3, 2005 10:55 PM
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