Who will cover them now? All the politicians taking office? All of their dealings with lobbyists and special interests? Who will speak for the public? Or the common good?
I’ve covered some of the work of the daily press in my Newspaper Traditions category, and remind you it’s still a rich resource to visit. It’s a major part of the route that landed me here, after all.
The bigger, scarier perspective is one I take to surreal dimensions in my novel, Hometown News, which also reflects the situation many workers endure in the unchecked spread of multinational conglomerates. Think of Dilbert on steroids. Or the vulnerability of localities in the face of global giants.
The real news continues regardless of the headlines. Take it from me. Or my novel.
When Bill, fresh out of college, accepts the assignment to yrubBury, he views the daily coded messages as a matter of corporate espionage and competitive edge. Heck, he’s ever so green and naive. What else is a generalist supposed to do in an age of specialists?
The assignment’s an education in itself, a revelation of global tensions and intrigue – and, to his surprise, he’s caught in the crosshairs.
Here he thought he was sidetracked to the boondocks. Instead, it’s ground zero.
Laboring behind the scenes in the subculture of daily journalism (Newspaper Traditions) meant bottling up a lot of my own feelings. My talent took place in near anonymity, advancing others and hoping to help the wider community and broaden the readers’ vision.
It was like being a teacher without any of the affection or apples. I suppose it took its emotional toll, too.
At least, I’m in the rush of a sensation of release now, even if so many of my recent postings look like history. Just remember, it’s unfinished history.
If you want to see what it was like inside the newsroom, especially in the escalating pressures of budget cutbacks, I’ll invite you to my novel, Hometown News. No matter how surreal the action turns, it’s not that far from the bigger impact of multinational conglomerates on local communities like the ones a daily newspaper covers. Or at least did.
You could see this as a kind of Garden of Eden story. There are four main speaking characters, plus one (Big Inca). There’s a place that had been golden (the town of yrubBury) now on the verge of restoration. If Bill does his job. And there’s conflict from somewhere off-stage – actually, tons of it.
The action could have been set in Susquehanna country or the upper Hudson or Connecticut rivers, among others. Anyplace with falling waters. The kind that could power industrial mills. Or might, generating electricity, in the future.
It’s American history, drawing on nostalgia. And the military-industrial complex.
And small-is-beautiful hippies versus international free-trade agreements.
You have to make a living somehow. And live in community, as basic humanity.
Listen to all the political candidates, then, and ask … just where they’d stand in this story. Really.