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Mónica Guzmán’s Journals On Reporting In Houston And The Day The Seattle P-I Went Up For Sale

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One of my most interesting finds today was a handful of journal entries from Mónica Guzmán, the former head blogger for The Big Blog and current editorial outreach director at Intersect.

The first bunch I saw was a collection of journal entries from the day Hearst announced the old P-I was going to be sold:

Something Swartz said made me tear up a little. Just a little. For the first time that day. What he said, it had something to do with people. With everyone gathered around. And it was the first of many times today that I would feel the weight of what was coming in the lives of everyone gathered around me. My God. No.

(Note: She’s talking about Steve Swartz, the president of Hearst Newspapers at the time. Actually, he may still be president.)

Anyone who follows Mónica’s work knows she’s pretty willing to share, but she said on Twitter that she’s using her Intersect account to share more personal items.

The second post wasn’t so much a bunch of journal entries as ruminations on her job as a reporter at The Houston Chronicle:

I started a couple days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans — as a cops reporter. About 150,000 evacuees would fill the city and crime would spike.

And:

I called the police press department too much and asked too many questions. I imagined when I hung up, they made fun of me.

I mention these posts not just because Mónica’s a Seattle journalist and someone I’ve looked up to as a journalist, but because they’re interesting and because they’re personal, which is something that journalism is often not.

A lot of journalists stick to the old rules that one should never make oneself part of a story, or, at least, one should avoid it at all costs. But read Mónica’s journals — they’re striking in their honesty and paint a fuller picture of where she was and what was going on.

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  • Ben

    I think they’re a chunk of what convinced me to start attending P-I Big Blog meetups. It was nice to put faces to the stories. I noticed that my hometown’s newspaper is now using photos of its journalists, similar to (zzz) @OregonLive for stories now.

  • I dropped in on a few of those, too, and I remain hopeful that maybe they’ll come back some day (if not on The Big Blog, somewhere else).

    It’s kind of a brave thing to do, not just for a person, but especially for a journalist. There are some unstable people out there and a lot of people direct their anger at the media.

    That said, I think the people who regularly attended the meet-ups had fun and got something out of them.

    Journalists are weird — they like to think of themselves as the Fourth Estate and the check on government, but they have this Batman complex where they feel like they can only do it in the shadows and have to avoid meeting face-to-face with their readers. Journalists should think of their readers the way Congresspeople think of their constituents.

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