It's quite "meta" of me to reference an article by my pal Alex that quotes my pal Tim.
But it's a damn good article that addresses the issues of ... well, me ... quite well. Insider? Outsider? What the hell am I and what do I want to be when I grow up? When I started UTK a few years back, it was a whim. Like many writers, I thought I had something to say and I never had any idea that I would say something people would read, respect, or tell their friends about. If I'd set out with a goal, I probably wouldn't have made it. My goal for this season was to get on the Tony Kornheiser show. Didn't make it.
I never had a plan, never looked for a job, fell into my current niche, gig, and the whole story of how I got into radio is so much luck that it's laughable. I don't have any sort of idea where to go or what to do. I have no journalistic training, much less medical training than most assume I do, and my writing background is all fiction and nearly a decade old. Instead of becoming Isherwood or Fitzgerald, I was called today part of "the Woodward and Bernstein of baseball." Pure hyperbole.
I'm with Alex and Tim. I'm neither insider nor outsider; neither fish nor fowl. What I am is as flexible as it needs to be and malleable to the needs of the market, my employer, and the task at hand. I'm mostly a medhead, but anyone that thinks I won't go off topic hasn't read my blog. Anyone who thinks Derek or I (or BP) will be scared off breaking another story is wrong, but we're not looking for scoop either.
I am, simply, a writer in search of words, in search of meaning, and in search of knowledge. I am the most free of the free press, bound by only truth and my moral compass. In fact, I have become Isherwood's ideal - "I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed."
Which leads me to the end of Alex's article where he (rightly) praises the quality of Gordon Edes' work. However, to go back to a Nixon reference, "what did he know and when did he know it?" In the rush of quotes and speculation that was the Rodriguez to Boston blur, did Edes watch then report and if so, did he have any responsibility to "break" the story? What gives something so much weight that you cannot wait? In the Rose story, it was a wave of information so indelible that it could not be resisted. I think Gordon was right to wait, to watch, and to fix his piece correctly and completely, but I'm not so sure that other journalists are sailing their ship quite so well.
Any writer, at best, is owned jointly by his muse and his audience. When either is sacrificed on any altar, the spirit of the writer, his very soul, is at question. Without that soul, he/she becomes simply a wordsmith.