Tuesday, March 3, 2009

the best party ever, sources say

My opinion ran on Monday this week, but I was just too busy to blog until...NOW!

I'm finding it harder to have pure, theoretical opinions; that is, to talk abstractly about an issue. No doubt, I've developed the lazy imagination of a reporter.

While reporting takes a ton of time and effort, the reporter him/herself doesn't need to contribute much. Most good, well-reported stories will write themselves after skimming through your notes, assembling the strongest quote and outlining the narrative progression. The most difficult part—and any journalist can attest to this, regardless of whether they agree with anything else I'm saying—is coming up with a lede (the first sentence or paragraph, designed to capture the reader's attention). Ledes are often the biggest test of a writer's skill. If you've done enough good reporting, the rest of the story should come easily.

That's why writing opinions can, at times, be challenging. I'm lucky; I'm usually present for enough exciting/controversial events and issues that I can use my reporting skills in writing my opinions. However, I can't imagine being an opinion writer trapped in an office building or other such non-inspirational setting. At times, I struggle with this in school already. When classes start slicing into my time, and I'm stuck studying instead of going to events or lectures etc., coming up with an idea can be excruciating.

It creates a definite conflict between performing my job as a journalist and still keeping up with academia, but, right now, I feel like I'm getting the best of both worlds, a good balance between class time and adventure.

It really is incredible how much I've experience being a journalist; my world has expanded so much. Over the past two years, I have developed a gigantic list of contacts from all over Phoenix. They are the people I've contacted at one time or another for an article. My friend Joe and I joked yesterday that I should have a "thanks-for-helping-me-with-an-article-at-some-point" party, where everyone who has ever contributed to my work gets to meet and talk. It would be a big party—lucky I have contacts in the food business.

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