A good fact-gatherer is part scientist, detective, soldier, teacher, artist, and magician.
The storyteller in you also helps, but it’s not the old patriarchal dogma that is helpful.
The first time I decided to begin a media outlet, I was operating on a budget of zero.
But someone out there decided to advertise for me without my knowledge or permission:
The writing on the wall. These were all over East Hamilton for a time — right up — but not including my house. You followed the arrows, it lead you right to my house.
It made me think two things: (a) I am certain the owners of all those walls were rightfully angry, and (b) connecting is a guerrilla affair.
I almost had traction, but other things were working against me. I knew it going in, and that’s why Chaser News was a laboratory where I could actually conduct experiments and research that I could never do if I was working for another traditional outlet.
I didn’t give up. I did use the research I got to create an experimental publishing venture:
The above book has a very symbolic cover, although it is a work of fiction: pixels on a backdrop of crumpled paper, and that’s how I looked when I began Chaser News.
Like its foremother, I did experiments. I did research.
And then came a new book with an outside publisher.
The time away got me thinking about my other two ventures.
Neither has been abandoned.
But when you do something; do it right.
These two ventures are merging together.
Because one balances out the other.
Journalism was never supposed to be corporate. It was supposed to be skeptical going in.
Not judgemental where you decide everybody is a jerk. You neither give the benefit of the doubt, nor condemn.
The National Post, for instance, could learn a few lessons in not assuming everyone making a #MeToo claim is a nut or a liar.
When you are going out of your way to prop up an Establishment, you no longer are an impartial information-gatherer.
And the Man can afford to buy his own PR, thank you very much.
There is too little science or training in detective work. There is no experimentation, or understanding what it is a news producer is supposed to do.
I have had my fill of shoddy journalism — and almost all of it is pseudo-journalism.
I have been gathering a lot of the bad cases of it in the last year on a full-time basis, and I can see how far its sunk since my first book came out in 2005.
But I am excited to try a different route, using my first two ventures as a map of what to do — and what to do better…