Back To Four Color Print.
We now live in an era where the President of the United States constantly casts aspersions on the news. Where it can be declared “fake” and journalists threatened. Tweets and social media are considered to be real sources of actual information, by a culture that doesn’t validate the sources at all, or discriminate. The erosion of the free press is quite frankly, scary.
My school has a journalism class, and a newspaper. The newspaper almost never comes out, and when it does, all of the news and articles are horrifyingly out of date. It would be possible to run a journalistic web site, with the print media as more of a magazine…but we don’t. It upsets me, actually, because I remember working for my own school newspaper.
There was an art editor who was my friend, and she enlisted me to do political cartoons. Despite being my friend, she was a demanding editor…holding me to deadlines and integrity, as well as high (high school level) art standards. My content had to be fair, as well, which is often hard to do. The newspaper came out every couple of weeks, so she had me on a pretty rigorous an demanding schedule. I wasn’t in the class, I was kind of an artist “stringer.”
I remember doing it, and feeling a responsibility when I did. It was a Big Deal, and it needed to be done Right. People were going to read it, look at it, interact with it, so it needed to meet some pretty high standards of integrity. I remember being proud to be a freelancer for the school paper, and often wearing bow ties, like Jimmy Olsen in the Superman comics. His job seemed most similar to mine…he did photography, and I did art.
I wish that my students had that kind of experience.
I wish that people today had that kind of pride in their work, and the power that a free press really has. That the responsibility is huge, and often, not a lot of money is made for the sleepless nights.
At university, I again worked for the paper, as a stringer. I loved it. The hustle, the deadlines, the stress…and then the beauty of the finished product. The credits on the page. They mattered, and the readers’ opinion of the product mattered too. By that point, matters of advertising, revenue, and readership became an issue, and I got a working knowledge of what it was like to be an actual journalist, if just a tiny bit. It wasn’t for me…not as a job. My whole “great power and great responsibility” lay elsewhere.
Now, with the free press under fire, and the values that I think really matter to America are eroding, I kind of want to touch back to that. A few educators trying to flatter me call THIS site a kind of journalism, and they are wrong. It more of a professional journal, or sarcastic memoir with cartoons. By no means am I doing anything like journalism, even when I’m being informative. Way too much bias.
With that said…I’m actually friends with our current journalism teacher. I could easily give them some advice, or draw a political cartoon or two. Keep my hand in, as it were.
Or perhaps more on point…I could so another thing that my school did, and put together a quarterly, or bi-annual “literary” magazine with student writing and artwork. I remember contributing to that, and being incredibly proud when it went into print. It’s pretty on point for what I teach these days as well, as well as being a valuable exercise in free speech.
I’be been thinking about these things a whole lot, as well as my high school art director friend. She was tiny…which is why Cap is towering over Bombshells Lois, despite not being very tall herself. If I had taken all of the hours devoted to WASC so far, and used them to get started on a school literary magazine, I’d already have something coming together.
As I look at my blinking cursor on the screen, I’m pretty sure that I know I’m going to start that project. Probably tomorrow. I simply have too many talented students, in terms of art and imagination, to let them continue to go without some form of published voice.