Raising hell and having fun

So keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it.

Lord, let your laughter ring forth.

Molly Ivins

I am one lucky journo.

So many times in the past 30 years I paused, looked up to the heavens, and thanked the stars that someone was actually paying me to do this fabulous journalism thing.

But as my friend Amy Gahran lamented today in her E-Media Tidbits column, that spirit is long gone from newspaper newsrooms today.

As I know from up-close and personal experience, many newsrooms have been poisoned by a hateful blend of slash, blame and holier-than-thou attitude.

May they all be encased in amber. Soon.

As my friend Molly Ivins once wrote, “I don’t so much mind that newspapers are dying – it’s watching them commit suicide that pisses me off.”

That’s not the culture that lured me into this business, but it is what drove me away.

Once again, though, I got lucky.

My students at UNLV are wonderfully enthusiastic about committing solid, ethical, world-changing and interesting journalism.

They are curious sponges, soaking up every “how-to” and “why” as fast as I can dish it out. They’re excited about experimenting with cell phones and useful tools with wacky names like Twitter and Netvibes and Utterz and Drupal. (Lookout guys, Ning‘s next!)

In this faux town, they chose grounded and interesting beats, including poverty, health and nutrition, women’s health, feminism, the diverse neighborhood near the university, celebrity philanthropy, animals, parking, podcasting, social networking, UNLV basketball, Rebel sports, street racing in Vegas, (update) a local’s guide to Vegas entertainment, a critical look at cosmetic surgery, the NFL Draft and the environment.

They understand that there may be no “man” to go work for, and that they are responsible for establishing their credibility, their brand.

Their stories are relevant, engaging, full of facts, context and staying power.

They are the future.

And ya’ know what, Molly?

We’re having fun!

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9 thoughts on “Raising hell and having fun

  1. Thank you, kiddo, for taking me out to lunch with Molly lo those many years ago. My recollection is that she was taller than me, at 6ft, and a most imposing figure, full of life.
    Keep on raising hell, she’s cheering you on.

  2. Nice throwback to the way things were, Charlotte Anne.

    When I watch the traditional media and see what passes for news in today’s newspapers, I fear that the end has already occurred (the death of journalism). They’re mostly running on fumes now.

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  4. Nice blog, Charlotte, and I admire your spirit.

    Whether pessimistic or optimistic about the state of journalism in America, students might learn a valuable lesson from the “Hearts and Minds” blog which archives and organizes my regular column published for the last six years in a general readership local newspaper in a reputedly fundamentalist, one party ruled county in midwest USA.

    JD may take heart at the life in these columns. Unfortunately, it’s true they are running on fumes.

    Scan the categories for subjects of interest, browse the table of contents for titles. This is raising a ruckus and running against the wind. “Thanks, Molly Ivins”, one of the three related posts linked above is one of mine.

    http://clydewinter.wordpress.com/about/

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  6. As a reporter at The Dallas Morning News during the war with the Times-Herald, I dreaded the walk to fetch the AM editions of both papers at 6 a.m. Why? The spirit embodied in this post…because Charlotte-Anne regularly kicked all of our lazy behinds. xxoo, CA. Miss you!

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