20 November 2012

Shift

There is a very small handful of people that I care about letting down.  Some live in Indiana, some live here in Portland, but it's a fairly small list in both places.  With that said, I'm undergoing a major shift in mentality as of late.

Dean and I were talking the other day about activist groups and that sort of thing, how I look at some people and it seems like they are doing so much for the causes that they believe in.  It's something that's truly admirable, even if it's not a cause that I align myself with.  It's a matter of getting yourself out there, letting your voice be heard, making sure that other people know which side you're on.  I find this very important in the world that we are now living in.

I've talked a lot about gay marriage, women's rights, environmental issues, religion and so on.  These are all topics that I'm pretty outspoken about within dialogues either on here or with my friends, acquaintances on campus and so on.  I've also talked a lot about my career paths and what I would eventually like to do for a living, meandering on toward being a journalist and submitting myself to writing for someone else for the rest of my life, barring the possibility of becoming an editor someday.  I think I'm going through a dynamic shift.

I had an article run in the paper the other day about a women of color zine group, detailing the experiences of a couple of zine writers who go to Portland State and their experiences as women of color and zinesters.  I was pretty happy with the piece.  It wasn't one that required extensive research, but it did a decent job at detailing their experiences and letting people know what some of these zine groups were up to.  

Yesterday morning I got an e-mail from my editor telling me that one of the individuals I covered in the article felt like I misrepresented one of her quotes about how she got started with her zine.  Everything I put in the article was verbatim what she said, in the contexts that she said them in--nothing was overindulged or misplaced, I thought I had a smooth running article.

I have to go in and meet with him either today or tomorrow with my notes from the interview to discuss this potential misrepresentation.   This isn't the first time that something like this has happened to a journalist and it won't be the last, but it's a frustrating situation.  On one hand, much of the time I am writing stories that I don't really give a shit about and, in my opinion, their only purpose to take up space that advertising couldn't fill.  On the other hand, even the people you write about aren't happy with the publicity they are receiving.  

With that said, I have a phone interview today with the advertising department at the PSU Vanguard.  It's a ten hour a week position, base pay per month with 12% commission.  I'd be pulling in four times the money that I am making now, but I would have to quit writing for the newspaper because of conflict of interest issues.  For whatever reason, I'm not sad at all by the prospect of leaving my post at the newspaper.  I have little to no say about creative influence, I'm writing stories that I don't necessarily feel like writing, and I am still under the thumb of editors.  I've come to realize that this is just the nature of the beast when it comes to starting up a career in journalism.

Thinking about this, I'm considering taking my potential career on a different path.  I would love to be a public relations specialist for an activist group, amplifying the voices of maybe a gay rights advocacy group or a pro-choice lobby.  I feel like these may be better avenues by which to exercise my talents, not submit them.  I can use words on a larger podium to profess my thoughts, my experiences, my beliefs, all the while meeting people who share these sentiments and helping them to amplify their voices as well.

But who really knows.  This all sounds like a great idea right now, but our lives change just as much as our hairstyles do.  It's an ever changing system of rules and beliefs, molded by our experiences far and wide.  I have no idea what the next couple of years hold and, frankly, I'm glad that I can still be surprised.

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