Full disclosure: Of all the types of journalism out there, all the important and civic-minded things I could be doing, I am really best at fluff.
I can’t help it. I mean, I can do other things. I can cover a meeting with the best of them. But when it comes to my actual specialty, the thing that comes naturally, the thing I do better (hopefully) than the guy next to me — it’s fluff. Fluff, fluff, fluff.
I am good at writing about proms. And quilting clubs. And basically anything that involves kindergarteners. And I’ll admit this too — I love writing about those things. My own media consumption involves a lot of crime news and investigative pieces and political minutiae, but when it comes to writing, give me some Valentine’s Day weddings or a beekeeping class any day.
Like I said, can’t help it.
So anyway, sometimes it can get frustrating because you’re not seeing all the immediate rewards a really good crime reporter or a fantastic investigative journalist would see. Journalism is not important, for civic reasons, because of the type of story I’m best at writing. That can lead me to feel like I’m not important, professionally.
But I got this email today, in response to a story I’d done about a church that gives away free prom dresses once a year:
Do you know if Grace Church happens to have anymore prom dresses available? I could really use one for a father daughter ball this weekend. I just don’t have the money for a fancy dress right now.
And then later:
I actually called the church myself. I am meeting up with the lady on Friday. Thanks so much! If it wasn’t for your coverage and article, I would never have known about this opportunity. My daughter is SO excited! Thanks again.
Now, of course, I didn’t actually do anything. The credit goes entirely to this local church that gives away free prom dresses to people who need them.
But just the same, I felt a little bit better today about being a writer of fluff.