Sunday, September 20, 2009

A terrible truth in the chip dip aisle

Never underestimate the power of chip dip.

I went to the grocery store yesterday, filled my cart with fresh fruit, vegetables and skim milk, and prepared to cancel out the benefits of those nutritious perishables with a bag of chips. Can’t be good all the time.

I overheard two women near the popcorn shelf talking about last-minute plans for a small-business seminar coming to the city. I like to think I’m fairly informed about what’s happening in my backyard, yet I wasn’t aware this was happening.

I had no interest in the seminar. I was drawn to the idea of talking to employers and particularly their workers about the perils of keeping their heads above water during a recession. Maybe I would find someone having a good fiscal year.

I introduced myself to the women and learned they didn’t bother informing my newsroom about the event. We have a reputation for catering to the usual suspects and not giving other groups a chance at coverage. The truth hurts. In the end, I couldn’t make any promises. I’m as frustrated with our news judgment as they are.

I’m muddling my way through digital journalism, teaching myself how to use social media, tell a story through video and write for a web audience. This encounter reminded me that nothing beats turning off the computer and speaking with people in person.

I’ve always had a knack for striking up conversations with strangers, but I’m afraid in our quest for online supremacy we’re forgetting to look away from the screen and see what’s in front of us.

The lesson was refreshing. So was the beer I bought to wash down the chips, dip and humble pie.

The Hyper Journalist


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