Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thinking Out Loud: Noodling a Story Idea

This is something I've never done before on this blog.

The last few days especially, and for much longer than that generally, I've been following discussions about the anti-racism movement, and disputes over its inclination to ignore or dismiss the subject of class, over on Will's blog. (Here's the most recent such discussion.)

It's a topic that intrigues me journalistically. A big reason for that is my own personal biography. On the surface I'm a suburban white man, and that's mostly how I live my life. But I grew up on the college campus (literally -- we lived in campus housing) of a historically black college that was adjacent to a rural, black village. I have immediate relatives of African descent.

A decade of covering labor and workplace issues for a metropolitan newspaper (and, more sporadically, since that time as a freelancer) has given me insights as well into issues of class and the economy's impact at the street level.

Add to that my sometimes annoying tendency to be pathologically even-handed, a holdover from my newspaper reporting "get both sides of the story" days. I said, I find myself interested in writing something on this topic, but of course, first, I have to know just a whole lot more than I do right now. And then the question is, for whom? I've got two primarily regional publications I write for, and there's one in particular, based in my state's capital city, for which I think something could be fashioned. And then, what? what's the hook? What's the lede? What's the angle? Especially, the local angle?

Feel free to chime in in the comments. The usual commenting rules apply...

1 comment:

  1. Hmm. I dunno if this is useful, but if I was thinking about something locally, I might try looking at one issue and see how it looks through a racial lens versus a class lens. One example is poverty in general. If you take the traditional lens, it's appalling because in proportion to the population, far more blacks and Hispanics are in poverty than whites. That leads a surprising number of people to the conclusion that most people who are poor are brown. But the truth is half of all people in poverty are white. The racial lens alone leads t distortion.

    Also, I've noticed a few articles that simply say it's time to start thinking about class in the US. There was a big NYTimes piece on it around the subject in 2005, and this is worth reading, imho, though it's probably not for your typical regional publication: Chris Hedges: This Country Needs a Few Good Communists - Chris Hedges' Columns - Truthdig.

    Hmm. A possible title: Class: it's not just for communists anymore.

    Well, it amused me.

    Anyway, I'm glad you're thinking about this!


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