Journalism is the Uncarved Block

I found myself at the college library today. I was meant to be at a baby shower, but with my first lot of finals in just a few short days, I decided some book time was higher priority (is that bad of me to say?). 

I have to give a quick shout-out to the Whatcom Community College library – they’ve got a few late-night study days during the week, and have been advertising free coffee and cookies. However, I came in today and there was a pan of brownies, fresh coffee, hot chocolate, apple slices – all sorts, for the stressed out student. I keep enjoying being on campus more and more. 

Journalism is the class I’m having the hardest time with, which is why I’m at the library, re-reading old homework readings and retaking notes in the same notebook. I commit to memory so much better when I write my information down, opposed to just re-reading it. Our teacher sent out an email with points to study on. 

She ended it with “Really, you’ll be fine if you’ve been engaged in the subject at all. Don’t panic. Be cool.” I love it. It takes some of the pressure off since I can barely read those text book chapters without rolling my eyes. I can see why she doesn’t like that book. 

One thing that occurred to me as I was reading through the chapters though. Journalism is not complicated, which is something I have been learning through the quarter. However, I make it extremely complicated. I spent so much time on the last article we had to write for class, which was an Oso benefit concert on Friday. If I had to write it in an essay style, I could have gone on for days about it. But somehow picking out the important and relevant details made it tricky, and I struggled with the 750 word goal. If it were an essay, I’d have easily gotten to four thousand words. 

Journalism is the Uncarved Block, like Pooh. 

Taoism is about things being what they are. Everything simply is. The Tao of Pooh talks about how Pooh is the uncarved block. He simply is. THere is nothing complex to him, nor does he make things complex. He simply is. That that’s what Journalism is. It is simply facts that are arranged by formula on the paper. 

Then why is it so hard?

As a Western society, we are programed to constantly think, constantly question, constantly be on the go. The art of letting things be is not something that is regularly practiced. As a result, many of us over complicate things. 

Math used to be problematic for me, then I realized I was thinking too hard, and all I had to do was look at the numbers and the sentence they formed and translate into english then back into math. 

I wish I could have given myself this advice at the beginning of the quarter about Journalism, that after gathering the facts that the quotes, it’s just cutting and pasting them in the right order. News writing for a newspaper simply is.

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