Elections and journalism

I like to use rhetoric whenever I write. I come from a musical theatre background, so rhetoric is kind of my thing. Unfortunately, rhetoric isn’t always appropriate, but since this is my blog and I get to do whatever I want with it, rhetoric will probably be my main writing style of choice. I say this because I’m probably going to say “let’s talk about [insert chosen topic here]” a lot, and when I say that, I don’t really mean let’s talk. I actually mean, I’m going to talk and you’re going to read. (Or not read, depending on how pissed off you get about what I have to say.)

That being said, let’s talk about elections.

Today was midterm election day, and as a greenhorn government reporter, I was excited. I was so excited, in fact, that I got up at 5 a.m. to talk to people going in to vote right before they went to work. My editor warned all of us ahead of time that there were going to be people who would brush us off. There might even be people who get angry and personally affronted. Luckily, I didn’t meet any angry voters. I got the brush off once, but that was because the lady was in a hurry. But it was really cool for me to go out and talk to voters. A lot of them had really emotional opinions and I felt so honored to be able to share that with my paper’s readers. I know that sounds super cheesy, but that’s how I felt — completely honored.

With that invigorating feeling, I returned to the newsroom and received my assignment; to hang out at a candidate’s watch party. I drove almost an hour out of the city to hang out with a really chill crowd in a tiny room in the back of a Pizza Hut. No one was very excited, because I suppose they all knew that their candidate was going to lose, but they were good sports about it and they talked to me. I sort of geeked out when I realized there was no Internet in the Pizza Hut, which meant that I would have to dictate field notes, like in the olden days. HOW COOL IS THAT? I really wanted one of those fedoras with a card that said PRESS tucked into the ribbon. Anyway, despite the fact that my candidate lost, I had a great time reporting on the watch party.

Bottom line: I was excited about this election. I even had fun covering it. Covering elections and doing things like this for newspapers is why I love being a journalist. I get to play an active role in preserving democracy. That’s what journalism is about, isn’t? We’re the fourth branch of government, put in place to inform the people and empower them. Call me a n00b if you will, but elections are exciting. They make the late nights spent in the newsroom totally and completely worth it.

So when I got back to the newsroom and listened to my fellow journalists, my comrades in arms grumble about staying late and complain about partisan crap, it made me so…indescribably sad. One editor even said we should try monarchy for a while so we wouldn’t have to deal with biased partisans. And yeah, I realize it was a joke and yeah, I agree that partisanship is bullshit, but monarchy to me isn’t funny. I believe in the power of journalism so thoroughly that the idea of monarchies make me indignant and furious, almost as pissed as this editor was about partisanship.

Anyway. I like elections. And I love journalism. If that makes me a nerd, then so be it.


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