The only other important thing to be said about Fear & Loathing at this time is that it was fun to write, and that’s rare — for me, at least, because I’ve always considered writing the most hateful kind of work. I suspect it’s a bit like fucking — which is fun only for amateurs. Old whores don’t do much giggling. – Hunter S. Thompson
I’ve managed to wiggle into a newspaper here: one of those tiny, seemingly insignificant publications on the verge of dying out. The anglo community is small and incestuous and I’m on the fringes. The new girl. The strange one. I love my work because I believe it’s meaningful in some sense. It’s a chance to speak the truth. I love talking to people, asking questions, figuring out stories.
I’m also incredibly angry at the industry. People still need good journalism even in a time of a social media and citizen journalism. They need to read facts, well-researched articles whether online or in print. They need to know what’s real and what’s not. They need pictures that aren’t snapped with an iPhone. They need headlines and first paragraphs free of SEO keywords and optimization techniques that not only murder good writing, but make shitty articles about Kim Kardashian easy to find (my previous job).
I feel less like a prostitute and more like an EMT these days, but I still struggle to write real. By real, I don’t mean PR puffery. I mean: the truth about agendas, alliances, and awards.
The community needs to know when their old friend Melinda dies or when the royals come to town and the Francophones protest or when Mayor-what’s-his face fucks up again. They need to know that the fundraiser was stuffy and boring and full of old, rich white ladies. You can’t write that and expect to get paid.
There’s a commercial interest behind every story, every newspaper, and even every blog. Ask me about how many times I’ve written product reviews to get a product or wrote about a celebrity because they appeared in Google Trends. For the small local papers, in general you can’t write anything negative about a company who advertises with the journal. With big name papers, the hot story about Weiner overshadows the beautifully written piece on silent monks waiting for their homes to be engulfed by the Arizona wildfire.
It’s scary to tell the truth but it’s time. Hell, I’m even afraid to be writing this.