February 7, 2010

Part I: Ending the great escape.

I'm listening to my husband and letting you know I'm coming back from the "gone fishing" break I didn't plan to take.

At first, I believed I was merely taking a blog break. Lots of company there and each announcement of "no more blogging" bolstered the idea of just stopping this sharing of thoughts.

Yet it was not trendiness that drew me into this dumping of words in one place on the Internet.

And this lull of nothingness was not just a blog break. Instead, it became a vacation from major parts of the Internet - from this blog, Google Reader, Twitter, Friendfeed, even email. Worse yet, not just some email but all mail accounts. Me, the woman who used to eagerly rush to remove all bold from the log in PINE or  erase a number next to the Facebook Inbox.

Why? Depression? Busyiness? Nothing left to say (stop laughing now. I was just getting used to the idea that I can speak up on ANYTHING anytime now that I've left a newspaper career behind.)

Then I wrote "I don't know why I escaped from all that" in the first draft and knew my answer.

Tough, tough, tough

This transparency stuff is tough. This interactive stuff is tough. This writing stuff is (still) tough.

I make it harder on myself. For example, knowing some come here only for more on Advance Publications - Newhouse newspapers - Booth - etc. - I strive to keep up with it all, to share it all fairly. I make myself email or call the head honchos for their sides. I try to ensure I don't accidentally reveal what I should not know because someone posted an opinion in Facebook or Twitter or ... I try to protect those who share information - ensuring I've looked at multiple buyout/layout letters before quoting one, that I have permission to use names.

I make that same effort on other subjects. Instead of writing about the absurdity of titles on one Girl Scout council's staff list, I go looking for a council doing it right. Miss Pollyanna Positive still.. Plus, I cannot believe that my opinion about Twitter or Facebook or social gaming can stand on its own and go looking for items to quote for backup.

It's a blog, you know

I know it is just a blog and that I could just write.This attribution thing, this protection thing - not expected by anyone in just a blog..

But I know that's a lie even as I write it - the blog is just the printing press; the material published through it still needs to meet the standards of accuracy, of fairness, of believability. Why? Because that is who I am, or at least who I strive to be - a person proud of the image staring back from the mirror. Even on the days I don't like the outward wrappings of me, I need to like what is me.

Yeah, I can't get rid of the idea of journalism ideals that must have been ingrained in me at birth even as my heart shatters over the dismantling of the news industry. I cannot say goodbye to one more friend whose dismissal from the business wears a costume of buyout or, worse yet, layoff. (Yeah, like those people will ever be hired back.)

No more journalism

This year, yes, 2010, is the year I have to wipe out the lifelong commitment to journalism. There is no chance of returning to the news business. There is no room for me in the established newspaper, online business, or journalism classroom for me.

I cannot continue to become excited when I see opportunities written with my name on them, when mail from a news organization comes here. The high is too soon followed by a drop.

Yet, really what else do I know but gathering stories and communicating. I crush  new-found friends with questions, not content to trade casual comments without knowing more. (Yes, Google and Bing are this addict's enablers.)

Belly fire quenched

I lost the fire in the belly to create a new organization, a new way of sharing news even as I envy the partnering of Jay Rosen and Dave Winer. Perhaps it is watching others start off so enthusiastically and then their flames slowly disappear, crushed by paperwork, regulations, and profit and loss statements. Perhaps it is the overwhelming number of blogs about journalism, grant-funded projects, and research that seem to produce nothing beyond words.

My dream slipped into a nightmare  ... Someone else can  pull to together the diversity of information and chunk it for busy news professionals, to convert the academic-ese into day-to-day newsroom English, to translate the hottest finds from the geeks, the early adopters into usable, understandable tools for journalists who duck math with pride.

Or perhaps it is more personal, a fatigue I should expect because of the effort spent on my daughter's battle against cancer, health insurance and life. There's more. And there's that multiple sclerosis thing that seems determined to make walking and seeing a challenge now that I have time for both.

So I escaped. From the blog. From the blogs. From the Tweets. From you. All of you.

Updated with links, correct names and better spelling and grammar 2/8/10  11 a.m.

1 comment:

  1. I did suggest that Mary Ann post something. As you can tell by what she wrote, she has had a "break" from her passion of writing, I don't know if this means a new direction in her writing or a greater focus. She is a complex soul. I assume that the craft room reorg and the quilts will remain "works in progress".