It's a rule of old-school journalism that you are never the story. I'm going to violate it today to say that when the Indy is sold, my role will be changing. I'll be writing a column for the paper rather than, as now, doing the job of staff writer. What's the difference? I don't have a simple answer. If I did, I'd be — well, a columnist!
Seriously, I've had the luxury at the Indy of writing in whatever style suited me or, better, best suited the material. I've done some straight news reporting, a lot of opinionated reporting, some columns and essays, and thousands of blog posts. The subjects have ranged from war and peace to Tony Tata to my nephew Branch, who used to think I was Santa Claus because I have a beard and presented myself as able to assist with his Christmas list. (Time marches on, though, and little Branch is now a star on his high school football team.)
The difference in my style(s) results from sometimes thinking I know what's going on, but other times knowing that I don't — that I don't know enough (yet) about a subject to state a firm conclusion.
In that vein, my desire to write in a column voice is about wanting to say what I know, and what I think is important, after almost 40 years in the media, politics, public relations and just generally paying attention. I'm still a learner, I hope. And I won't stop looking for the people with dreams and the organizations trying to bring more justice and equity to the world. That's the fun of writing for the Indy. On the other hand, there are some things about which I'm not open-minded. For example, Mitt Romney.
Now there's a column.
p.s. about this Citizen blog. It's always been a work in progress. I'm not sure what its future is. As with everything about the sale of the Indy and indyweek.com, it's TBD with my editor, Lisa Sorg, and the new owners when they hit town.
In some form or fashion, though, I will remain an interested citizen of Raleigh.