Monday, September 19, 2005

The beauty of text

Originally uploaded by whatmeworry101.
As part of my work for the Foundation, I organised last weekend a seminar for newspaper journalists in Helsinki. The participants came from big national quality newspapers. Three whole days of discussion reminded me once again how much I love journalism. The people working in the field - especially in quality publications - truly have a desire to make the world a bit better. I am once again more hopeful.

It also reminded me from my position, I mean being in between. A discussion on the last evening clarified once again what is my personal motivation for journalism. I was having drinks with two of the participants. One of them works on the daily news desk while the other works more on features and reportage. The one from the news desk described how the passion for the work comes from meeting deadlines, getting facts right and being able to fill the page every day. The one working for the features desk told how he loves analysing amounts of information, drawing conclusions, improving his own text and so on.

I clearly belong to the latter group. I have never worked for a news desk. I described during the discussion how I wrote recently a big article on Tony Blair which meant reading his 750-page biography, a 250-page rhetorical analysis on him, doing two interviews, going through dozens of interviews and in the very end squeezing this into 3-4 pages of text. It was a process of 3-4 weeks. For me being a journalist is often quite close to the identity of a researcher.

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