Last Saturday we produced a special “saturation” newspaper, so those of you non-print subscribers in Port Orchard, Bremerton, Silverdale and Poulsbo may have received a free Sun on your doorstep. The idea was to introduce, or re-introduce, the Kitsap Sun to folks we may have lost touch with. Remind ’em newspapers are still alive, and maybe sign a few people up for subscriptions*.
Part of the strategy was a marketing piece that featured photos and short descriptions of most of the reporters and photographers in the newsroom. It was nicely done and hopefully introduced our staff to potential readers, but the idea to spotlight a newspaper’s headliners or personalities really isn’t “new” (though it had been awhile since the Sun’s run that kind of “get to know us” effort).
What is kind of new is the little project on Tumblr I noticed yesterday, which is generating some buzz in journalism circles (at least circles on Twitter), called We Are Journalists. It’s along the same lines as our campaign to personalize reporters, in a way I haven’t seen before. From what I understand it’s patterned on the “We are the 99 percent” slogan going on with the Occupy movement, as a way of collectively standing up to ask for a little respect for the work reporters do in the face of some increasingly tough odds. So journalists write a short bio and post a photo of themselves, and the world can see that we are real people, who, for one reason or another, love and care about the work we do.
The submissions seem mainly to come from young reporters so far, but we’ve all been there so it’s interesting to read in a sentimental way. Some of the war stories or stereotypes sound a little schmaltzy or cliche, but deep down I like those in the way most people are suckers for romantic comedies. And then there’s the inside jokes that only journalists can come up with, and probably that don’t make anyone else laugh. Like: “I feel like I’m sinning if I don’t read at least 3/4 of the newspaper, and I often find myself reading yesterday’s news to cure my guilt.”
I loved that one.
Here’s mine (which should probably be edited if I’m really going to submit it):
I go home every day having learned something new. My friends ask me what’s going on around town because they know I’ll know. When I meet people, we’re able to find some connection because the newspaper’s reported on them, their neighborhood, their job or something they’ve been involved with. I’m neither a Democrat or a Republican, and won’t ever be because I’m a journalist instead. I get to cringe when certain area codes are on my caller ID since I know I’m about to be unfairly criticized because we did our job in making someone uncomfortable with a status quo belief (and then everyone in the newsroom gets to roll their eyes about it together, which is fun).
I like when a reader, who is insignificant in the reams of customer statistics that drive business decisions in the world today, takes the time to say thanks for a photo or puzzle or book review or publishing the score from her granddaughter’s volleyball game, reminding me that the Sun makes a difference in someone’s life every day.
Yesterday I was at the Manette Bridge opening, tweeting and sending photos back to the newsroom and saying hi to my neighbors, and a few people asked how I got out of work on a sunny day to hang around at the bridge. It was my work.
I am the editor of a local newspaper.
*It kind-of worked.