Being a Journalist
After a certain point in life, careers crisscross and, if you’re lucky, complement one another.
I was educated as a teacher, something I always aspired to as a young student. But it wasn’t long before my career changed paths and with a move to Los Angeles and a suitcase full of songs, my aspirations to become a songwriter took hold. Taking workshops in lyric writing that required conveying a complete and interesting story in approximately three minutes and forty-five seconds proved invaluable as I moved on from the recording world to writing long form – plays and novels.
A move to a different location opened a door to a fascinating divergence writing critical reviews under tight deadlines for a major newspaper. Now, not only was conciseness and interest demanded, but accuracy and honesty as well.
I remember receiving my first Press Pass and thinking how my writing had taken different forms over the years and strayed far from my musical, not journalistic, training.
Over the years, my fiction writing has taken a decidedly pro-active, political turn. “A Conversation with Hattie McDaniel” addresses racism encountered in America from the 1930’s to the present; “Hazel Speaks!” features the wisdom of environmentalist and activist Hazel Wolf; “Hennessey Street” reveals the challenges of illiteracy, age discrimination, and class struggles.
I could go on. This column, “My 3 Cents”, my most recent opportunity to share issues, offers me a journalistic platform, and hopefully, you, the reader, a chance to share ideas and discuss concerns.
Which brings me back to journalism. The definition of freedom of the press stretches so much further in this day and age. Seeing something in print does not guarantee its veracity. The very definition of the word is to relay the truth. Whether reviewing a book or a speaker or interviewing a dignitary or influential artist, as a writer, a journalist, I strive to be truthful.
Now, more than any other time in our history, it’s up to the reader to research, read, and decipher truth.