Happy Friday! Here’s some weekend reading (if you just can’t get enough of journalism, writing or the media,) gathered from good stuff published on Medium this week and last. Thanks to Katie Hawkins-Gaar and Vidisha Priyanka for helping to curate.
Brock Meeks delivers on the promise of that headline with what it takes to make it in investigative journalism. They should teach No. 4 in journalism school:
4. Cultivate the Crazies, Kooks and Conspiracy Theorists
As an investigative reporter you’re going to hear from all corners of society, none more so that the “fringe element,” those that believe the CIA has implanted listening devices in fillings of their teeth or are secretly working on an anti-gravity machine. And you’ll hear from them in droves: Pay.Attention.To.Them
Once in a great while, among the flotsam and jetsam of cornball theories and suspicions, you’ll find an absolute pearl, an honest-to-god scoop of story that no one else took the time to uncover. Trust me, it won’t be easy. You’ll have to likely have wade through someone’s personal life history of sketchy experiences and hordes of nonsensical documentation. But at the bottom of it you’ll find what you’re looking for: a grain of truth worth all the dead-end invested time.
Jose Antonio Vargas wrote about his new documentary “White People.” Vargas, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, also teamed up with the Los Angeles Times for the multimedia project “#EmergingUS.”
2. Who cares about what white people have to say?
Doing a documentary on white people is something I’ve been thinking about for over a decade, when I wrote about a student that started a Caucasian Student Union at her majority-white high school in Bay Area, Calif. I realized when I was talking to these students that they felt nervous talking about race. When the topic of race comes up, many white students feel left out, censored, or ignored — because they usually don’t get to talk about it. Many white people, including those interviewed in the MTV special, do not think of themselves as a race, and they feel defensive and uncomfortable when they are racialized. “White is the default — it is the default race,” one young white person told me. But America was never “white”. The world was never “white.” As I said in the documentary, “White is not a country.”
Anthony De Rosa wrote about the different ways journalists could and should be transparent with their work.
This transparency builds greater trust between the reader and the publisher. It also reclaims something that is becoming lost when readers are led to many places through social media rather than relying on a single publication: loyalty. If I am given the ability to track a story over time and understand I’ll be told if something changes or is corrected, I’m more likely to go back to that same source which I’ve subscribed to.
Fidji Simo wrote about learning to be vulnerable while leading.
When you think of a “leader” — who do you see? Many people think of a tall white man in a suit. Long ago, I decided that I wanted to do my part in changing that image.
This collaboration prompts people for their own best advice, including this from Cory Doctorow:
“Stop in the middle of a sentence, leaving a rough edge for you to start from the next day — that way, you can write three or five words without being ‘creative’ and before you know it, you’re writing.”