People keep calling me a journalist, but that’s not quite true. I have attempted to act in that capacity in the past with varying levels of success, but no longer. I never made an announcement. I just quietly walked away from that vocation. I suppose I could be considered a pundit of sorts, but that sounds a bit pretentious for what I do.
Jason Pitzl-Waters is a journalist, and a damn fine one. He talks about that in a post about his view of journalistic ethics:
While The Wild Hunt is today just one Pagan blog among thousands, it is still one of the very few that focuses almost exclusively on reporting community-driven news, and as such has been given a weight, and a responsibility, that makes me question the value and role of every post I write. I constantly ask myself what the effects of my media megaphone will have on a situation, and tried to error on the side of caution, but I know that not everyone has been happy with the way I’ve written or reported on every situation. An internal balance is struck on a regular basis between the needs of our movement, the needs of local communities, and what I believe the role of a movement journalist is.
Jason and I are very different people, and we disagree on things about half the time. Jason has sighed and shook his head over me countless times, no doubt. It’s no surprise that I disagree with Jason’s stance on picking and choosing what to cover. When rumor and disinformation are flying, it is a journalists job to present the facts. Doesn’t mean they have to do an hour-long special with Anderson Cooper questioning experts, but they need to set the record straight, and do it in a timely fashion.
Jason, along with the members of the Pagan Newswire Collective, are journalists because they have a calling to serve their community, not because they have any notion of making a living out of it. They can’t cover a story the way CNN can, but they can still cover it well. Being volunteers, it’s a struggle to do things well. That takes time, energy, knowledge, training, self-knowledge, and even money.
At one point I was active within the PNC. I was the founding member of the now mostly defunct PNC-GA, and I’ve done some collaborative festival coverage. I haven’t been active for well over a year though, and so I no longer consider myself a member. I don’t function well with consensus process, and I have all the tact of a blacksmith’s hammer. I’m blunt, and when issues regarding censorship or spin come up, I’m beyond blunt. So I’m not a good fit for the PNC. In fact, some PNC members don’t even think I’m fit to tweet their stories much less write for them. But I believe in good journalism, I believe in the future of Pagan media, and I believe in the PNC. Plus, I have tremendous respect for Jason. The Wild Hunt is quite an achievement and I’m proud to have it in our communities.
My sun is in Pisces and I’ve got Aries moon and rising. I get steamed up quick, and my tongue can dart like a flickering flame. Yet I am also low like water. Water is the most humble of the elements. It goes to the lowest, empty spaces. It fills up the void that the rock eschews. While other bloggers climb mountains, I invade valleys. I say things that others don’t in a way other people aren’t saying them. I’m not terribly politically correct. I argue for both sides. I take the perspective others don’t. In short, I’m a bit of an ass, and one without much tact at that.
There is a softer Star. She tells people to delete the blog post that will only cause them grief, or to get educated on a subject before speaking on it, or to not engage in Jerry Springer-style behavior, or she gently harasses some Pagan org for a statement or press release before they are ripped apart on Twitter and Facebook. No one listens to the softer Star. The Star that tries to look out for your best interests and cares about your reputation. Everyone listens to Star-who-is-a-bit-of-an-ass.
Journalism isn’t for me. My calling to put the metaphorical pen to paper came from Hephaistos. I thought he wanted me to be a journalist, but I was wrong. He wanted me to be a bit more like him. He’s blunt, he’s practical, he’s concerned with justice, he has a soft spot for geeks and underdogs, he believes in excellence in your craft, and he is most certainly a bit of an ass.
I am not a journalist, but I am a bit of an ass. A lot of people don’t like that about me. But strange as it may seem, I think it’s my calling.
I’d like to close with an excellent quote from Peter Bishop that I think provides good meditative meat for all of us, asses included:
You say Diana Paxton said this, and Margaret Fell said that: but what canst thou say? Art thou a child of Light and hast thou walked in the Light, and what thou speakest, is it inwardly from the Gods?