Work in progress

Posted on: 29 August 2008


Still in wednesday’s flow, I worked at three things this morning.

In discussing things with friend X yesterday, I talked myself into wanting to work as a hoofdredacteur for a large magazine or daily free newspaper. Researching this ‘possibility’, in full awareness of the grotesqueness of it ambitionwise would be my next step.

If nothing else, this research will reveal to me further important ingredients of a desirable job.

So far, these aspects of such a job seem desirable to me (without knowing how realistic, etc.)
– inspiration
– working with people and ideas
– creativity
– working with language and image
– creating something – a movement, a community – from a vision
– inspiring people, coaching, management.

Also I quickly concluded that a job as verzuimmanager misses these elements: a) working towards a vision and b) creativity only in the metaprocess of how work is done, maybe some but hardly that much in the workprocess itself let alone in the content of the work (is that same?). Most of all, creativity as in crossing boundaries, as is important to me, may not be called for/welcomed. May even be discouraged.

Researching the editor idea: possibly through talking to some people I know in publishing.

Interesting option for developing self in direction: interview people I know and writing it up/ a reportage/portrait. E.g. Zeitgeist/generation portrait.

Other option: writing for corporate mag such as Achmea Health etc. Or; local little newspaper.

Other idea for job: publisher, “how-to” books. Similar interesting aspects as w/editor. Publicising the “how-to” trend from vision.

More desirable job aspects:
– research
– experiment
– process as opposed to result driven
– organic a/o to blueprint
– meeting people
– enthousiastic
– dynamic/change oriented

I looked up what the “basisboek journalistiek” (Kussendrager e.a. 1997) had to say about chief editors etc. and found some interesting things;
– journalists don’t seem to have explicit goals with their writing; of course they do operate from certain values, albeit somewhat hidden ones. Righting wrongs, exposing injustice, sensationolising, providing quality, imposing the intellectual way of life e.g. writing for their own.
– target audience: when expressing views about them, these seem derogatory. What does that say about the journalist him/herself.
– the subject of sales is interestingly completely absent in the discussion on ‘why write’.
– of course there is the major identity function; I read newspaper X, therefor I am intellectual/working class/entrepreneur etc.

This all seems extremely oldschool, narrowminded en provincial as in Holland is the province. (maybe the current version has changed radically).

Hult&Huckin’s New Century Handbook (1999) seems much more to the point, naming the difference between writing as a way of thinking out own thoughts, e.g. communicating with self and communicating with others. The importance of which I have myself have recently become aware of, especially in view of this blog.

The thought crossed my mind as to why I have held on to both these books when I have done away with most of my psychology and user interaction textbooks.

Anyhow, the whole chief editor question; what does he do? could hardly be answered through the basisboek Journalistiek. What jumped out most is a remark about the authors’ fear about editors having to work more and more commercially instead of independently. klinkt ook erg achterhaald. Interesting is the further detailing about organisation of national and regional newspapers. I think developments may have caught up with this description as well. I just hope that journalists receive training from more knowledgeable and up to date sources by now.

The main things that seem missing in basisboek Journalistiek to me are:
– why not openly choose to use a newspaper as propaganda of a certain vision, lifestyle etc. – as long as the editor-in-chief (ha! found the word) is open about it?
– letting readers participate in defining and developing/changing that vision
– in short, advertising with that vision both to readers and advertisers
– in order to change the world into something we want it to be.
– or would that be too dictatorial/political?

I followed this up by defining my own vision to make it more concrete and “take it out of my head”. I have thoroughly enjoyed this morning’s work, though I feel slightly guilty at not having set appointments. Maybe it is justified because I need to do this homework before. I have created some options for appointments that I could set. I am uncertain about the verzuimmanagement position, if I should already completely abandon that option. My heart already has, but the doubt remains if this is wise and if I should not just choose eggs for my money (? dutch expression). So I am not following it up with action, but not pulling the plug completely by letting T. continue to investigate for me. Although I do feel a little bad about her working a pointless cause. Should I invest in my relation with her by coming out in the open with my private concerns?
I guess I’ll sleep on it.


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