Friday, November 09, 2007

Baa, Baa Hack Sheep

I have high standards. For myself, for others in my life, for my dogs. I've been told that sometimes my standards are too high. And sometimes, I'm sure, they are. But when it comes to journalism and writing and photography, they are not too high. I do hold myself apart professionally here. I can't help it. But, what's wrong with that? I want more for myself and so I expect others in this world of journalism to want the same. Most of the time, I'm wrong. Most of time, in my experience, mediocrity reigns. It's not my fault my standards are higher. My parents' benchmark was set way over my head, as it should have been. They expected a lot, as parents should, and were supportive no matter what. And so I aimed to please. But I have to credit the Yukon News (yes, that's right) with my flair for writing and my eye for photography. I'm not saying there isn't heaps of room for improvement. But that's just it, I want to get better. And I want to surround myself with people who also want to get better. People who want to learn.
Editors at the News edited. Sometimes, actually often, they edited too much, but they read everything. Even my lame, long, sports' features. It doesn't matter if it's a race on the track or a race in the political arena, stories should be well-written, interesting and engaging. To everyone. And it doesn't matter if you have three weeks or three hours to write said article, it should be great. Every. Single. Time.
Is that expecting too much?
Those high standards were set at the News. If a story sucked, it didn't go in. If a photo sucked, it didn't go in. Wire copy was always ready and waiting in case a reporter couldn't pull it together. There were rewrites and reshoots (not often, but every so often) which at the time, I hated. I would whine and bitch and moan, but now, years later, I realize what a favour the editors were doing me. I still have a professional relationship with them, but I wouldn't call them friends. I have enough friends. I needed editors and I got them. I'm not saying the News didn't/doesn't have its faults. It does, but looking back, I miss those high writing/photography standards. Like I said, the News is far from perfect. But you have to admit, the writing and photography is great. It helped that the paper was privately owned. That means that advertising wasn't a deciding factor when it came to editorial content. The paper wasn't just a vessel for ads with a couple of stories thrown in to fill the space. The owner was there but never got involved with what stories went into the paper or how they were written. That was the job of the managing editor. This post is about the Yukon News and what I liked about it. Hopefully it will give some insight about why I hold myself apart. And, why I will continue to do so. I won't apologize for that.

1 comment:

Theresa said...

Sing high for standards. And links. I'm liking your links. And I don't mean the sausage kind.