Sunday, September 18, 2005

arm chair editor

You may have noticed a few whispers here and there on this blog lately about my desire to change things up. And if you're a regular reader you've no doubt noticed less of the random musings and more serialized entries tracking a couple of stories. (Three, actually, now that I've started a thread about my adventures as a new inner-city debate coach.) I know the start-up is a bit slow. New stories usually are, but I'm fairly confident that the stories will get a lot more interesting the more I dig.

Anyway, now I want to start another thread, called, as you can see in the bold type up above, "New New Journalism Journal." And what I have in mind here is a running account of me feeling my way through blogging and journalism, and trying to figure out where the two meet, or not.

Honestly, I'm not yet totally sure what will go in this thread, except for this "Armchair editor" idea I have. And basically it's just a weekly check in, like the kind I had with my editor back when I had a steady job, where I'd get a sense of where I am in the various stories I was working on and, most importantly, I'd find out where my editor wanted me to go.

But in this case, you're the editor.

Sounds hokey, I know. Blame Rupert Murdoch. I caught one of his speeches on C-SPAN where he said the new generation of information consumers resent the God-like perspective of newspapers and TV news. They (we) want more control.

So, here I am, digging into these stories that I find interesting, and that you do too, presumably (otherwise you wouldn't be reading them). So why not pick your brain about where I ought to head?

OK then.

On the Esmie front, what I have in mind for the coming week is to make some early stabs at trying to understand the justice system Esmie finds herself at the mercy of. I want to know how often juveniles are tried as adults, and under what circumstances. I also want to find out if, or in what ways, these numbers are distributed demographically. Meaning: are poor or minority kids more likely to be tried as adults? And, if I have time, I might do a little comparing between wealthy Johnson County and poorer Kansas City, Kansas, or KCMO (actually, I already have a bit of a line on this).

The other thing I could do is go back. As I've mentioned, I saved all of Esmie's blog entries before they were taken offline. I could start to piece together a story out of those.

What would you like to see?

For the Senate race in Missouri, I'm seeing all kinds of paths open up. As I said earlier, I want to know more about how Senator Jim and his Republican pals use technology to get power. I want to know more about this E-85 stuff, and Senator Jim's drive for more ethanol.

And, of course, I want to know more about Claire -- a lot more, and to that end I'll be going to an event she's hosting in the boonies later this week. If I get a chance, what should I ask her? Any burning curiousness out there?

I'm also fairly well connected in the local political scene, which is overwhelmingly Democrat, so I aim get a better sense of how she fits in with the local machine(s) -- and I have no doubt that she is. I had an interesting talk last week, for instance, with a local insider friend, and I learned there's a sizable political rift between the black and Hispanic community. This could have serious implications on the race because it threatens to break up a potential base for Claire. And I heard similar rumors about weakening union support for Democrats like her.

Do any of these leads interest you more than others? Or is there something else I'm missing that'd be fun to investigate?

No comments: