Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Dream Job

It's always a peculiar question to me when people ask me what my "dream job" is.

I have a few prepared answers.

Some days I say, "The Miami Herald." I'm obsessed with McLatchy papers, and I'd kill to live in Miami. I was born there and I just think it's the most incredible place.

Other days, I say "A war reporter." War has always fascinated me, and I'd love to live where the action is. To live, breathe, get so absorbed in it, tell all the different stories associated with war.

But my last prepared response is probably the most accurate.

"I want to be Woodward and Bernstein."

Netflix describes "All the President's Men" as "The film that launched a thousand J-school students." Now, I didn't see it until about a month ago. But I read about these men in my history books, and knew they were my heroes.

I want to change the world with something I write.

Now, the reason this is the most accurate is because it's the most versatile. It's not medium specific. I can't plan to be a Herald journalist, because who knows what the Herald will be by the time I graduate. But obviously, the demand for good investigative journalism will be around.

In Ryan Thornburg's book "Producing Online News: Digital Skills, Stronger Stories," he details the newer forms of media and the many, many media available. It can seem a little overwhelming.

I've seen some great examples in my time in North Carolina.

A reporter on The Daily Tar Heel, Eliza Kern, produced an independent blog about the New Hampshire primaries this summer called "Primary Wire." She might have single-handedly ended one candidates campaign. The power of blogging is huge.

And my hometown newspaper, The News and Observer of Raleigh, recently produced an incredible series of investigative pieces about tampered practices in the State Bureau of Investigation. And the multimedia for them is just incredible.

It's all there. The story told straight from the victim's mouth. I can hear their own expression. I can see the actual photographs that prove the lies. I can read the full, fictional confession. I can experience so much that never would have made it into the print edition.

I would love to be the old-fashioned journalist who writes those hard-hitting stories for the front package. But I'd be missing out on so many wonderful ways to reach audiences.

Blogs are best for niches. I mean, my blog is about the future of media. Journalists will hopefully find it interesting. If you're a medical researcher, you probably won't read it. I'm okay with that.

Eliza's blog wasn't really interesting to me. I never really read it until she made a huge difference, to be honest, because national politics have never really been my thing, but especially not in New Hampshire specifically.

Blogs make it so you don't have to work for the Washington Post to make history.

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