Friday, January 11, 2008

Risky Business?

There are several misconceptions about journalists. In Hollywood movies, the journalists have three roles.
1. The jerks who tell lies about the protagonist, and then fall for said protagonist. (Hello Runaway Bride)
2. A pack of press people who harass the protagonist at first for good, and eventually to the protagonist's ruin in a film about being yourself no matter what others, (the press) think about you.
3. As the protagonist, journalists are portrayed as the daring type, willing to sacrifice everything, from their integrity to their lives for the sake of a scoop.
For the record, all the above are myths. I have no intention of sneaking into an evil multimillionaire's laire (probably cause I have no Superman to save me), and while I may have to chase the mayor down the street for a quote, I generally try to avoid the obnoxious journalist stereotype.
But you see, no stereotype is completely unfounded. Have you never heard of Daniel Pearl? And no, I'm not going to Iraq, but my point is that no type of journalism is whithout risks. I mean, you're in the business of going up to strangers and often asking them personal questions, or entering high danger areas all so you get a story.
I had my first brush with the risky side of things today. For a photo assignment, I headed down to Baker Park to take some pictures. I thought I'd get a cool shot of the ice floating down the river. So I climb down the steep bank with my camera hanging around my neck.
Of course I slipped. Murphy's law says so.
And no, I did not smash my thousand dollar camera. To be honest, that's all I was worried about. After taking the picture, I climbed out of the bushes, literally covered in burrs.
What a sight I must of been for the joggers. This girl coming out of the bushes, looking like a wild thing with dishevelled hair, smudged with dirt, and decorated with burrs. All the while clutching her Canon Rebel XTi to her chest.
But hey! I got the shot.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Some People Need Hobbies

As a journalism student, you're expected to comsume news like normal people consume oxygen. Over Christmas, I took a break from all this, but now back in school mode, and with a big assignment due, I'm reading the news cover to cover. And not just the daily paper. I'm making up for my slacker ways and reading the old ones piled up on my desk.
So while flipping through the Herald, looking for stories about visible minorites, (stupid ACOM 2217 assignment), I stumbled across this article. Basically the gist of it was that some girl named Dawn Sherman was filing a lawsuit against an Illinois law which states that public schools must have a moment of silence "for reflection and prayer" each day. The moment of silence is about 15 seconds long. Sherman was offended by being "forced" to talk to God.
Now I know the United States likes to sue each other for suing's sake, and any excuse justifies a lawsuit, but 15 seconds of silence? Come on.
What's wrong with 15 seconds of silence anyway? It's not like the Illinois public schools are strapping students to a chair and shoving prayers down their throats. I'm guessing most students sleep in the moment of silence anyway. Just as soon as they put the word "pray" anywhere, a bunch of atheists jump up and declare that they are offended, and all religious connotations must be removed from the face of the planet Earth. Has it ever occurred to people that the avoidance of all religious matters is offensive too? Freedom of religion is not the removal of religion, it's the tolerance or all religious views. Even the mainstream ones.
So for crying out loud, let the kids have their moment of reflection, prayer, sleeping, etc. Maybe then Dawn Sherman can reflect on better ways to spend her youth than filing pointless lawsuits.