Pierce Pioneer

Journalists: Jerks of the world

Commentary
Ashley Terrien

Getting the truth into the view of the public and invoking discussion are the motivations for a journalist.

What we want is for people to pick up the paper and see what’s going on around them and question it. Should these things be happening? Do these people deserve what they’re getting?

Some people don’t even realize the injustices or issues around them until they pick up a paper or watch the news.

A newspaper is an outlet to catch your attention and say, “hey something’s happening in the world around you.”

And when people are provoked by what’s printed they write letters to the editor, post about it on facebook, and cause a commotion about an issue that they want to share their opinion on.

That is the point. All journalists’ want is to spark a reaction from the readers.

Our goal is not to anger everyone with every article, but to give information about topics that some people will avoid talking about.

Journalists tear into controversy because they are the ones with the guts to speak freely in a public fashion that could potentially offend someone.

That doesn’t make us bad people, it just makes us braver than the ones who only say things behind closed doors.

We get behind those closed doors and expose the issues and the people for what they really are because that is what we set out to do the moment we become journalists.

We do not create the news, we report it.

People being angry with us makes us want to do our job even more.

At a journalism conference a professor told me that if you are not offending anyone then you are doing your job wrong.

Being offended causes anger, anger causes passion, passion causes a reaction and a reaction is exactly what we want.

Journalists will not be censored.  We will not be controlled.  And we will stop at nothing to give the public the truth to the best of our ability.

The constitution protects the freedom of press and we are taking the first.

J.K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy” is short on magic

Harry Potter author’s new novel for adults pleases critics, fails to charm readers

Valerie Ettenhofer
Staff Writer 

Here’s a warning to bookish twenty-something’s who may pick up J.K. Rowling’s first post-Potter endeavor in an attempt to seek the nostalgia and innocence of an earlier time: we aren’t at Hogwarts anymore. Of course, the beloved children’s author made that clear from the start, promoting The Casual Vacancy, a 500-page exploration of small-town politics, as a distinctly adult novel. Still, fans of her former series are bound to seek out parallels and expect much from this invariably different story.

And boy, did audiences expect. The Casual Vacancy, which centers on the aftermath of a councilman’s death and the agendas of various townspeople, currently wavers between one-star and five-star reviews on Amazon.com. Heralded by critics as a compelling political satire, the book still managed to sell 375,000 copies in its first week.

So what is keeping audiences from connecting with this story, which displays Rowling’s keen ability to craft phrases from the very first page? It may be the pacing. Tangled webs of characters are introduced at a leisurely pace each through the same lens of grief or glee at the death of their fellow citizen.

Another talking point that could dissuade readers is Rowling’s use of vulgarity without elegance. While her character descriptions and background information remain as vivid as ever, early forays into sex and violence seem calculated and off-putting, lacking the spark that inevitably lights up surrounding passages.

When taking into consideration recent phenomenon in the literary world, pacing and profanity are of little interest in determining a reader’s interest. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo mused about the structure of the Swedish media for much of the first third of the book, yet it remains one of the top-selling adult novels of all time. Furthermore, E.L. James’ Fifty Shades series disproves any idea of explicitness as a detractor for potential readers.

If one must guess why both loyal and first-time readers of the esteemed author are displeased by The Casual Vacancy, it would have something to do with magic. No, it’s not the literal magic of Jo’s most lucrative project that’s missing, but a literary magic that seems to transcend description. The fictional town of Pagford is plagued with a cast of dark characters who do nothing to alleviate readers’ weariness about our own current political state. This time around, the themes are bleak, the players are dismal, and the game isn’t so fun.

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