December 28, 2006

TIME OUT: "As Told to"

Today, The PITCH published an article called, "You Can't Go Back: That and Other Lessons Learned By Locals in 2006."
Ben Paynter wrote the piece in an "as told to" style (I don't know if that's what its called -- its just what I'm calling it). I like this approach because it draws on the section technique of which I'm a huge fan. As a traditionalist, I was uncomfortable in that the style employs a single introduction attribution and eliminates quotation marks.
However, the streamlined style won me over in how easily it allows subjects tell the story in their own words. It also created a change in the byline (in the print edition but not in the online version) The byline reads: "As told to Ben Paynter"
I'm totally going to steal this approach.

My shirt reads: "Trust Me, I'm a Reporter."
-Photo by Angela C. Bond
Miguel Morales, 39, reporter for the Johnson County Community College Campus Ledger and author of articles about a sexual harassment scandal that forced the resignation of JCCC President Charles Carlsen
I probably broke the biggest story of my career while still in college. At the time, I was kind of freaking out. I thought somebody was trying to set me up. Or, if it's true, I'm in way over my head.
I had a meeting with the president, and I basically dropped the bomb. I said, "There's these allegations — did you do it?" And he says, "No," and he turns all shades of red.
Did I print the victim's name? Yeah, I did. I said, "I'm going to use your name, so what do I need to do to protect you?"
The college had this big investigation that cost half a million dollars. It's very corny, but one person really can make a difference. It's not that people have ethics or they don't have ethics.
It's just, they don't always follow them. And then, pretty soon, they're sliding down the slope where they are doing all kinds of crazy things.

The JCCC Board of Trustees recently announced that the college is going to build this $300,000 scholarship in the name of Carlsen. He's trying to buy his way back into our college.
The good ol' boy network is still deeply entrenched at the college. There are professors who have tenure who say they're not going to speak because their classes will be reassigned. They can still get to people.
I don't know if I want to be in a traditional newsroom. I'm thinking of creating a local newspaper that's only online. With today's media, you don't just have to find your place — you can create it.