Monday, 10 September 2012


One thing I learned after working for a paper this summer: there is more room for truth in fiction than there is in writing that is supposedly fact.

I started to think that after one editor in particular began telling me the responses I should be getting from organizations in order to write any particular story, and even the quotes people should be saying. He was deciding the news, not discovering it.

Then I started thinking maybe it was just him, but as I had more hands-on experience I realized that no, it’s truly the nature of the newspaper beast.

Consider when I have to report on a knife fight - the actual knife fight happens somewhere in Winnipeg. Then someone calls the cops, or the cops see it when they are on patrol. They break it up, and people have to file police reports and whatever, so they get a combination of ‘truths‘ and people generally saying what they think will keep them out of trouble. Then police media relations has to summarize the event into something they can report to the media without compromising the image of the cops. That’s when I give them a call and get the ‘story‘ which, at this point, is really just something derived from what might have happened, but who really knows.

And the paper is a business. The bottom line is to sell papers which makes me see journalism, or at least the side of it I saw this summer, as something that defeats it’s own purpose. I was under the impression before I did this internship that the point of reporting information is to provide people with something that would allow them to be ‘self-governing,‘ to make their own choices or at least have options. I feel as though there is an element of it to that, but mostly every media outlet just wants to be the fastest and that kind of gets lost in everything.

And there are a bunch of rules surrounding what you can and cannot say and I believe they all relate to political connotations, perhaps, and things I don’t really understand. And overall they relate to having ‘taste‘ or being politically correct or whatever. Apparently, I know nothing about taste (or so I was told on the fourth time I was talked to about the dress code). Anyway, at least in fiction, because you are making up stuff that is based on maybe your own experiences or someone else's, you can show ugly details and be really honest about the whole thing because in the end it’s just fiction, right?

You can say things that are not tasteful, but that are true. And while I don’t believe in ultimate truth, at least you can tell someone’s truth in a full way than try to partially tell everyones only to tell no ones at all.

That’s why I will be writing movies one day, not articles. 

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