30 August 2006

Press(ure) Time

In what can only be described as a vivid definition of irony, I've been granted an Official Press Credential. Cleverly laminated, in English and Spanish, with the requisite leatherette wallet, all four little pieces of now-plasticized paper signed by a machine in the name of the Secretary of State of Puerto Rico designating Me Journalist Number 6523.

Yes.

Me.

Like the first time I stood in front of a classroom and realized I now HAD to put My money where My mouth so often ranneth over, I NOW have to wade into that boggy mass I've called "stupid retarded sheep" and NOT...be like them.

Unlike that teaching gig that evolved into one of the most satisfying aspects of My career, I can't dedicate every waking hour to be a Journalist. In another forum, I mentioned My childhood desire to be Walter Cronkite. However, I have never been moved to journalism in a Cronkite-like vocation; doing so is beyond My capabilities. And My reality is that I simply have too much to do to become even a consistent (weekly) part-time journalist.

But.

Receiving Press Credentials makes Me a part of a unique group with demanding responsibilities. That the vast majority of those entrusted with these credentials don't understand that is simply the tragedy of being surrounded by mental and moral feebs. Having been admitted to the Fourth Estate, I can't simply sit back and let time pass by, so I have to define what I will do.

Because it's often easier to define by negation, I will begin by stating what I categorically won't do with My Press Credentials:

1) Use them to "justify" parking illegally or quasi-legally. Seems as if Press Credentials are akin to Handicapped Permits, which is understandable given how many retards have Press Credentials. ("How to Win Friends and Influence People" My ass.)

2) Use them to "cover" events for free food or swag. Enough said.

3) Use them to get free admission to events I wouldn't want to pay to get into. First of all, it's wrong. Second, I don't have time to waste on events unless they mean something important to me. "Free" doesn't justify "waste."

Okay, Jenius, cut to the chase. What are you going to do with Press Pass #6523?

(Several minutes pass...then several more...)

1) I will cover events that relate directly to My primary fields of interest: technology, education and family, provided the topic is clearly defined beforehand.

2) I will not cover any politician's "emergency" press conference, or press conferences in polital party headquarters.

3) When I attend a press conference, I will be prepared for the topic or presentation. If for some reason I haven't time to prepare, I will FIRST speak with the Press Liaison/Officer/Wonk to get background information. If there isn't one available and background information is absent, I won't stick around.

4) If the presenter is going to splash PowerPoint slides on a screen and READ them, I will interrupt and request a handout. Whether I get one or not, I'm leaving.

5) If I stay for Questions & Answers, I will ask at least one question. Hopefully, it will be a perceptive, probing question. If not, I hope it royally pisses off somebody in the room.

6) If My question gets answered to My satisfaction, I will write about the event, person, product, program, initiative, activity or proposal presented. I will write My piece providing context for what was presented, according to what I believe would best help frame the information for greater understanding.

7) If I didn't like or agree with what was presented, I will state so unequivocally. If I liked or agreed, I will say so unequivocally. (I don't get paid for being objective. Hell, I don't get paid for this at all. Yet.)

8) My goal is not be a working journalist, but an example of what a journalist should do: Seek Truth. But I will do so on My time, My terms and to My satisfaction. That puts Me ahead of practically every other journalist on...oh...all three points.

Now, a Press Conference with Me:

Will you be doing a lot of "journalism"? No. I have more fun and make more money doing quite a few other things.

Will Your emerging presence as a journalist lead to people reading The Jenius? Yes, eventually. But I didn't think of that when I applied for Press Credentials.

Will Your Jenius writings cause You problems with The Fools? No. They don't read. Some of them can't. And not just English, either.

Is this exciting to You, Jenius? A little. Somewhat like wading into a stagnant pool to retrieve a piece of jewelry: It's icky, but you know there's a reward at some point.

What if You fail? I can't. Anything I provide that's honestly developed for a positive outcome is a valuable contribution. My only failure would be to not try.

When do You start? We'll see. Up to now, past is merely prologue.


The Jenius Has Spoken.

2 comments:

Gabriel said...

Enhorabuena!
Funny, the last two weeks I have had several conversations about the state of journalism in the island and the perception there are no poor in PR and the US. Then I ocme here and find excellent posts about both topics. Maybe ther eis something about those meta-mind theories!

Je, I truly hope you make the most out of the credential, we need reporting of actual news. Sadly most of our media is interested in covering politicians and their stupidity or elevating as heroes idiots who can punch hard but can barely form a coherent sentence or poor girls who are trained like dogs to smile and wlak on cue. We need reporting on the actual heroes and happenings on the island. I do hope you will be able to infect others with your questions and behavior at whatever public events you choose to cover.

And about Powerpoint. No one should use the program until they see a video of Tom Peters in action. His slides are awful looking, have no template, use garish colors but they work. He uses them as spark plugs to lauch himself an his audience on a subject and to avoid more digressions than he could handle in his allocated time. Its a wonderful thing to see.

Gil C. Schmidt said...

Gabriel, I actually feel pressure to DO something with My press credentials. Maybe I can't change the world, or even Puerto Rico, but I can serve, I hope, as a guidepost for where and how We can change.

As for PowerPoint, I have the "Master Slide" group that Tom Peters posts on his website. By and large, they look awful, but many of the them are 2-5 words long, BOLD! and do serve as launch pads for excellent ideas and discussions. Like any tool, PowerPoint depends on the user; sadly, most users think PowerPoint does the work FOR them.

Thanks!