I always cringe when someone tells me that I'm now a journalist.
That's not because I think being a reporter is a lower form of life than being a politician. It's because I have a great deal of respect for what professional journalists do, and I'm no journalist. At least not yet.
My blog is just another name for an ongoing series of essays. It's opinion usually fueled by information I gather from reading newspapers. In other words, most of what I do couldn't be done without the information gathering done by professionals.
But in last week's Isthmus, I took a step toward real reporting. I wrote a print story about the proposed public market for Madison. It's laced with my opinion and since I'm part of the story, it can't be considered objective journalism, but I did original interviews and information gathering, and didn't simply rely on other's reporting. I tried to be fair and to contact people who might be critical of an idea I support.
I've gone from making news to reporting it, from being an active participant in shaping our city to observing what happens. And I have to say, I kind of like it. I had my turn at power, now it's interesting to observe how others use it.
Someday I hope to write a real piece of journalism, where I'm not part of the story and where my own opinion on the subject is not discernible. When I do that, I will have achieved a higher rung on the life form ladder than the one I previously occupied.