As an outsider looking in, you gain a new perspective on a topic. Be it a sport you have never played, a new place, or a new trade, as an outsider you don’t know the politics, rules, or regulations. You are an alien in a foreign country.
I’ve dived into journalism this weekend. I am playing the part of a journalist. Not to be cliché, but I think I have at least walked a mile, maybe a little more, in the shoes of a journalist. Yes or no, it’s been enough to be criticized as one.
A vender in a chef’s hat on the street of old North St. Louis had an interesting remark when I approached her with questions. She cut me off. “I don’t appreciate it that you are acting like a journalist,” said the woman.
To be fair, I did introduce myself and say I wanted to ask her some questions for a story and I did tell her I am studying Biochemistry. But she went on to say she didn’t understand why we (the group of journalists walking the street) were there, or why we (again, the group of journalists) had chosen journalism as a trade when she could go home and blog about the event.
I wanted to say, “I can go home and bake a cake or cook some mac and cheese, but that doesn’t make me a chef, now does it?” But I’m not the fastest thinker and the group had already moved on to the next set of buildings.
My interest piqued, I asked John Schneller, editor for the Missourian, about what the goal of a journalist is and what role a journalist is supposed to play. I don’t think I have the time to write, nor can this blog’s readers take the time to read his answer. I assure you though, it was an answer that communicated the integrity he expects from those that call themselves journalists.
This trip has been very educational so far. We still have another full day. I plan to share more of what I encounter, both about the food system and about journalism, but I would hate to give it all up now.