Thinking Inside the Box, So You Can Get Out of It

boxby. Chad-Cinque

This is one of those crazy days when I try to figure out the writing and blogging game.  My thoughts on this topic are the product of boredom.

I decided to chase my dream of broadcast journalism because everyday offered a new adventure.  There is no such thing as “sameness” in journalism.

How exciting.  Every story is uniquely spawned by a constantly changing world.

My task is to use my imagination and journalistic skills to capture each “fleeting” story produced by this constantly changing world.  In such a setting, boredom is impossible—at least, that’s what I thought.

Now, I am beginning to think, “Maybe the real world is not so exciting, after all.  Maybe the four walls of my journalism classroom is a prison, not a learning lab.”

The weekly blog assignment reflects my view of journalism class as a writing prison.

Initially, I loved the idea of writing a weekly blog.  I salivated over the idea of commenting on relevant and important issues.   My heart pounded over the notion of having people read and respond to my viewpoints.

I couldn’t wait. At last, I would have the freedom to explore my ideas and develop my writing skills.

Wrong.

Last week, I was told to stay on point—“this blog is not about your everyday experiences.”  Ok, I get it.  There are different genres of blogs, and this class is about journalistic or news blogs that should focus on newsworthy journalism topics.  Be creative on these issues.  Stay within the box.

This journalism class mirrors my experience with the writing department at UB.  You are urged to be creative, but that you must stay within the classroom structure and write about specific issues. Thus, your “creativity” is embedded in a “non-creative” environment.

Ridiculous. Boring.

How can students express themselves, if they are told how to express themselves?

Can a musician be artistic if he or she is told how to express their music?  The bottom line is that I don’t want to write about “writing.” I don’t want to blog about “blogging.”

At the same time, when I sit passion aside, I realize there is another side to the coin.  If you think of the “box’ as the fundamentals of writing, its structure and style, and the place where you master the tools needed to be truly creative, then the issue appears different.

The bottom line is that I am being taught how to write, and this means learning how to function in a box. In essence, before I can function outside the box, I must learn how to operate inside box

There are many different types of blogs—political blogs, travel blogs, education blogs, fashion blogs, sports blogs, and news blogs.  The writing style for each blogs differs, as does its content.

In any sport, before you can become creative, you have to learn the play or the fundamentals in that sport.  Before you can add “creativity” to a dance, you must first learn the proper steps of that dance.

The moral of this blog is that you must first learn the basics of the box, before you can step outside the box.  In the meantime, I have to learn how to handle the boredom and hope my professor forgives me for this final personal blog.

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One response to “Thinking Inside the Box, So You Can Get Out of It

  1. Content: 4 Super airing of your frustrations and uncertainties, Chad. Why would I be upset about this? I don’t agree with your premise that the blog is limiting. You are free to comment on and critique all aspects of journalism, how news stories get covered, anything really, AND I want you to write about your experiences in journalism. Some of my comments on your classmates’ posts are that they are not personal enough. So go ahead — get wild. Post your ideas. I’m not clear what box you think we are in, but by all means go outside. I loved your post questioning if reporters should blog about the topics they cover.

    You are right, of course, you have to know the rules in order to know how to break them. But the rules of writing are only one aspect of journalism. Journalism today is a Wild West. The topics are endless!

    Links: 3 Great stuff. Loved that blogger in India.

    Grammar: 2 Your prose is wordy and needs a good edit. Try to cut the text in half without losing much meaning. Give each word more juice.

    I would cut the first five paragraphs. Start with the blogging prison. That’s catchy.

    Your arguments are not always consequent, which is a stylistic and organizational problem.
    Avoid cliches ( bottom line, other side of the coin — they weigh down your words.

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