on journalism (from the creative vantage point)

An excerpt from “The Art of Creative Nonfiction,” by Lee Gutkind, that will surely amuse my former co-workers, (as it amused me):

“Traditional journalists learn early in their education that creativity or imagination in newspapers and magazines are basically disallowed. Reporters with any real literary talent will have it squeezed out of them by stubborn and insensitive editors. Disillusioned, they will write secretly at night (becoming closet poets or novelists), or they leave the profession to chase their muse or some other dream. � What the reporter/writer feels or thinks personally about the nature or truth of the story is irrelevant. Curiously, most everyone in the newspaper business will admit that objectivity is impossible, but that doesn’t seem to diminish the intensity of their belief in the principle.”

I should mention that I am finding, from some students and professors, (and now from this book) a sort of sweeping disdain toward “journalism,” despite the fact that many of these same professors publish frequently in well-known magazines (apparently not considered journalism?) and that many of these same students presumably wish they were published in well-known magazines, or even newspapers, for that matter. In my fiction class today, one student, by way of introducing himself, declared that he was a failed journalism major and that he “hated writing to the lowest common denominator.”

Fair enough, I guess, but I am fairly certain that this guy never actually worked at a newspaper or magazine.
So far, I’m finding this attitude more interesting than abrasive or annoying. Sometimes, like in the above passage, I even find it amusing.


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