If you are interested in jazz and journalism (isn’t everyone?), I suggest that you check in once in a while with John Stoehr at Flyover: Art In The American Outback, since June part of the artsjournal.com bloggerhood. Some days Stoehr writes about music, some days about the news business, many days about both. Here’s a recent sample:
The first time I interviewed one of the organizers of the Savannah Jazz Festival, I was told to shut up and listen — you write what I tell you to write, son.
I was looking into why the city’s most respected jazz musician, bassist Ben Tucker, had not been invited to perform at the festival with a group called the Hall of Fame All-Stars…
To read all of the piece, go here.
Stoehr describes himself as, in effect, a self-made journalist who had a few things to learn about objectivity.
For me, unlike, I suppose, those reared in journalism schools, objectivity wasn’t an ethos or mode of thinking as much as it was a genre of writing. As someone who closely studied storytelling as practiced in the Western tradition, objectivity clearly had its own set of conventions, tropes and cliches, just as Restoration comedies, miracle plays, epic verse and horror movies had theirs.
In learning how to write in the genre of objectivity, just as I learned to write an academic paper (or a limerick or doggerel), I discovered something interesting and frustrating: that the rules of objective writing — he said, she said, officials say this, critics say this — were very limiting. Ironically, as I strove to tell the truth to the best of my ability, the writing conventions I used were sometimes keeping me from telling the truth.
Welcome to the club, John. Any writer who doesn’t worry about that is kidding himself and his readers. For the whole piece, go here.
I might wish that Stoehr were a little more scrupulous in proof-reading himself, but his content and his digests of other journalism thinkers are valuable, and I’m glad that he’s part of the blogosphere.