An ode to the press article

News on a computerIvi Fong

In a world of excitement and thrills at your fingertips, with many hedonistic joys waiting to be indulged, I think many people may find it strange that one of my greatest pleasures is in an article Press. In fact, I’m not sure anything makes my heart sing as much as pursuing and then writing a big scoop or reading a beautifully written international dispatch in the New York Times. Of course, the power you feel when your finger hovers over the “publish” button, anticipating your scoop’s release into the world, and earning the acclaim that comes with it is one thing, and a beautiful thing at that. But for me, the joy of being a news reporter, and even of enjoying great journalism, is much calmer.

“The rational, polite and wise words…were such a soothing contrast… [to the] untenable situations over which I felt so little control”

For me, the beauty of reporting lies in its simplicity; its reliability. The structure, while it may vary slightly from story to story, is pleasantly consistent. Never, through the thousands of news articles I’ve written and read, have I failed to be reassured by the reliable pace of his storytelling. Perhaps, in the chaotic world around us, and perhaps because of the often incredible, heartbreaking, and absurd truths contained in such articles, its stable structure and song are an increasingly necessary virtue. Perhaps it’s the very fact that the news often contains such big ideas that seeing the little words in neat, narrow columns makes the world less overwhelming, more comprehensible.

The way I view the news is so contrary to the growing consensus that the news is a source of stress and anxiety, a sentiment that, perhaps understandably, has echoed to me time and time again over the past few years. years. And while I’m certainly not immune to these feelings in other parts of my life, news has never been more important to me. For me, especially last year, my life was ruled by such untenable situations over which I felt so little control, and such strong, visceral emotion, that the rational, polite, wise words written so neatly on a page, whether they came from my own hands or those of another, came as a soothing and refreshing contrast. Whether sitting in front of my laptop and typing out a story, or sitting in a cafe, engulfed by a large newspaper, I felt a sense of order begin to return to my otherwise frazzled and confused mind. .

Of course, anyone who’s ever been on a news crew knows you can’t talk about news without talking about the adrenaline rush it entails: the buzz of breaking news, the addiction you can feel to leaking your uncovered truth in the world. . And, keeping that in mind, it is no coincidence that I have written more than a hundred press articles for this same newspaper. But the meaning and the purpose that I find in it are not simple. Indeed, I have never felt a sense of belonging like that of being part of a news crew. I also didn’t feel as connected to such a rich history; such a legacy, at the risk of sounding too pretentious (even though I think this ship has sailed before) such a legendary art form: I can’t claim that when I flip through the aforementioned New York Times, with its classic font and its old-school style, that at least part of the fun doesn’t lie in its aesthetic nostalgia.

“Seeing the little words in crisp, narrow columns makes the world less overwhelming”

Perhaps also, as I’ve heard others discuss, there’s a sense of validation in seeing your name printed, as if you were, after all, somewhat of a believable human. Maybe it helps soothe that feeling of impostor syndrome, allowing you to believe that you have concrete value or importance beyond your general restlessness in a nebulous universe. But way beyond the ego, there’s something about the news that I never tire of. Both so complex and so simple; so thrilling yet so soothing; so big and yet so small. The very fact that I talk about my love for articles in an article itself is very meta indeed. But I think that only seeks to underscore my love for journalism: for my endless, unfettered affection for a few words on a black-and-white page.

Author’s note: I wrote this article a few weeks ago, before the horror of war swept through Ukraine, uprooting the lives of millions and killing and injuring thousands. others.

Of course, like many journalists, I love my job, I love the news. And this article is about exactly that, in the purest and most well-intentioned way, and it should be read that way. But what the past few weeks have shown us as journalists is that work is not about us, our agendas, our feelings. It’s about using our privileges to speak the heartbreaking truth in the face of lies, to help innocent victims who don’t enjoy the same privileges as us. Who do not currently have the privilege of watching the news and feeling calm, but rather feeling dread, fear and anxiety.

While the timing of this article may seem insensitive, I believe it should serve as a reminder that the news serves a much larger purpose beyond the daily lives of individual journalists, especially in a time of suffering and disinformation.

That said, I hope my article can still be enjoyed the way it was originally intended, which I’m sure many people will still find relevant.