The move from a young creative freelancer working towards a career, to a professional, objective and rational journalist. Realising raw emotion may relinquish the crucial ability to report factually.
Something I did not learn until recently.
The past few months have been the first time I have interviewed for a paid writing position. I received some reassuring compliments, though I wasn’t successful in being hired. One of the interviewers commended my passion, and was appreciative of my work, though I could tell by the end of the interview that I wouldn’t be getting a call back.
Though I felt genuinely like they had been earnest in their praise of my work; I felt as though the use of ‘passionate’ to describe me was them finding another way to say they could tell I was young, without my paid office experience, and that my energy was quite raw and naïve in a sense.
I have grown tired of defending my age, I know it is a flaw when I go up against other interviewing for these positions so I attempt to put forward my others strengths, my passion is one of my greatest strengths.
It seemed she could tell I was perhaps still a bit too raw for the position they were advertising. It took some time for me to admit she was right. Passionate, or caring for the things you do is not flaw, however, passion is sometimes motivated by the wrong factors. Mine is emotion. The tone of my writing is very emotional. Anger and frustration shine through clearly when I am discussing a topic I feel strongly about. This is not unusual of course, we all have our own opinions, but when I am ascribing to be a journalist that is supposed to be accurate and representative of a multitude of perspectives, this kind of emotion can cloud this value.
I am often too quick to judge and dismiss another’s point of view. I may think of it as just ignorant, narrow-minded or even in anger stupid. These emotional responses push me to give no credit as to why someone may think the way they do.
Watching a Stephen Fry documentary, the other day called Coming Out; I compared the way he approach’s people compared to Russell Brand. Both brilliant and extremely clever men. Though Fry in some of his interviews grew evidently irritated with some he was speaking to, because their beliefs contradicted and insulted his own life choices. He had every right to feel personally offended, but his anger, then changed the way he was able to conduct his interview. Showing his own anger, provoked the other speaker to match his fury and soon there was no discussion, only attack.
Cinta Vidal Painting of Multiple Perspectives
Brand too has faced criticism for his life choices and opinions regarding the political system, his decision not to vote and his call for changes in the electoral system. What he does differently to what Fry did in this documentary, is he embraces the voices disagreeing with him. He will give them air time, so they are heard, and he will methodically and calmly dissect the points they have made. This open approach to others, allows room for both parties to discuss their points. Both feel as though they have been respected and while they may not agree, it has at least allowed opportunities for all to be heard.
When people are faced not with anger, but talking, they feel comfortable enough to respond. Someone who is met with aggression feels rejected and defensive. They close off and will attack back. To keep a channel of communication open where both sides feel they can contribute is a better way to discuss matters and it offers more chance of meeting somewhere in the middle, if such compromise is achievable.
I speak constantly about how people in power do not listen to the voices of the many, of the minorities and how they are not representative of the whole of society. It is a common claim that those in power serve to represent only themselves. However, I realised I am a hypocrite as I am doing the same things.
By expressing only my side of the story in my articles, I am failing to represent other perspectives on the argument or subject. I may be ignoring key issues that have led to someone else viewing things differently to me. And what says my voice is more important, or right, than someone else’s?
This approach to communication I believe is a learned behaviour, the ability to empathise and respect another’s opinion even if different to yours is a skill we should all possess. But it is not easy when we are compassionate beings who believe also in fighting for the things we see as right.
It is why my new year’s resolution is to be more mindful of others; and be aware of their side of things just as much as I am of my own. I will attempt to not meet disagreement with judgement, dismissal or anger, but accept we all see things differently for many different reasons.
Cinta Vidal Painting of Multiple Perspectives
I know this is a very perfect, ideological scenario and is not always practical. It will not always happen. We are individuals with our own experiences, our own beliefs and values that we are all convinced in our heads are the truth.
It is hard therefore to embrace the idea that someone else may also be right. It is difficult to see how lots of different views of something may all be the reality in one way or another. And even if they are not, everyone has as much right as one another to at least express their view of it. But again, the mantra that all voices are as important at one another, is at times another difficult lesson to keep in our heads; mine included. know this is a very perfect ideological scenario and is not always practical, and will not always happen.
But as a journalist I recognise it is my job to be accurate and honest of all the elements to a story and not just my own angle. I doubt it is something I will learn overnight and I am sure it is an ability that grows with experience in working and writing for a professional news outlet. But it is something I can begin putting in practice so I can improve my own abilities and become a better writer.