Infusing objectivity with passion
I'm enjoying the discussion far too much this week to change topics.
I'd like to pick up some threads that Jennifer wove into the discussion on Tuesday.
Early in my journalism career I had an editor who pointed out that it wasn't necessary or right to be objective about everything. He said he wouldn't be objective about rape, about murder, or about war. He held that he would be a poor journalist if he didn't hold an opinion about those things.
My father was a community journalist in the truest sense of the word--he was an editor who believed that he had to be a part of the community that he was covering. How could he do a good job as a journalist if he didn't care about the community he lived in and the people who populated it?
So it has never seemed dissonant to me that one should love--and love deeply--those things that you cover. Why would an editor want someone who lacked passion covering anything? When there is no passion, there can be little commitment. When there is little commitment, the writing will be dull and shallow.
And in the worse cases, when there is a journalist who hates what he or she covers, well, those results are pretty obvious as well, and not something that any media outlet needs.
However, many journalists also pride themselves on being somewhat cynical and worldly. If you start talking about love and passion as necessary components to their jobs, you're likely to get guffaws and off-color jokes. It doesn't mean they aren't bringing love and passion to their job, simply that they're uncomfortable with that sort of vocabulary.
The flip side of this is that as a freelancer, there's no way I would be a theater critic if I didn't have a love and passion for my community and for theater. I'm certainly not doing it for the money. My newspaper freelancing pays only a fraction of what my other freelance work does--and is far more demanding of my time and energy. I'm fairly certain other freelancers would say the same.
I would also argue that it is the passion and love that an arts journalist has for the arts that create a strong desire for fairness in coverage. Being in love doesn't make them less objective, it makes them more committed.
Bloggers We Love
Bridgette Redman and Lansing Theater
Drew McManus' "Neo Classical" at the Partial Observer
Marc Moss (Missoula, MT artist)
Mary Louise Schumacher's "Art City"
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American Composers Orchestra
Arts & Letters Daily
Center for Arts and Culture
Cultural Policy and the Arts National Data Archive
National Arts Journalism Program
NEA Arts Journalism Institute for Dance Criticism
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NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater & Musical Theater
New Music Box: American Music Center
USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program
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Douglas McLennan's blog
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
David Jays on theatre and dance
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
John Rockwell on the arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
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Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
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Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
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Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
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Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog