A role in society
Listen up. This is what professor Mark told us the other day in class. He said:
"I'm a shy person, an introvert. But when I'm in front of a person I need to interview, such as a public server, and ask it hard questions, I think: this is not personal, this is LITERALLY my job.
"You know, my mom was a middle school teacher; my brother is a physician. They have clear roles in society: my mom taught kids in the school; my brother helps people with Parkinson's. My role in society is to give this person I'm interviewing the chance to explain relevant things for people in my community. I'm not asking these questions for me, but them. And that is my role in society. I'm representing all of them".
I kept thinking about that because it moved something inside me. It made me think about the importance of local journalism: it's easier to lose track of who your community is when you write for a more extensive publication, when your "audiences" are a vague definition, if anything, a Google Analytics spreadsheet defining them in terms of age, IP addresses and engagement times. A dehumanizing system worried more for ephemeral page views rather than real feedback from your community.
But I understand this might be interpreted as an excuse for avoiding the real responsibilities of good journalism. It is not. Even if I'm not sure who will read the news I wrote nor reading at all, I try my best to translate into words the stuff happening around us, trying to explain what it matters and why it matters. But I recognize that I failed sometimes. Especially when motivation is low, and the workload is determined not by the news but by commercial pressure.
I would say it is honest, recognizing that. It is part of the problems the whole industry is facing. The next step is not to forget my community role. Even if I can not see their faces.