Quote of the day

From reader CVH

I’ve had the experience several times of
being asked by writers who have no clue about any religious music - CCM, SG, P&W, whatever - to explain it. Try that with someone who is doing a story they were assigned to, in which they have little or no real curiosity or interest.

Good writing requires context. It seems fewer mainstream writers understand that; with the exception of long-form articles written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, some major newspapers or scholarly journals, most writing these days is superficial and lacks context because the writers and even their editors don’t have any. Add to that a topic as remote in the popular culture as southern gospel music and you can’t expect much.

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Comments

  1. Cathy A. Dew wrote:

    Have You Considered Job?

    I do not need a job as a writer because
    I’m Job and I’ve permission from God to
    write: Get ready for the Second Coming
    of Jesus Christ.

  2. burt wrote:

    What the crap???

  3. thom wrote:

    huh? did anyone besides me miss that one?

  4. judi wrote:

    I can understand CVH’s comment about mainstream media often not providing enough context or background concerning religious topics, sg, etc. In fact this is a problem of providing context for almost any subject. A standard technique is to ask the interview subject to explain, just so you can get it right, but to ask intelligent questions does require some background knowledge. Back in the day, aspiring writers were counseled to get a degree in a field and/or become semi-expert in something; take journalism or develop their skills as writers on the side. In those days, publications employed a lot of writers and were open to an almost infinite number of freelance submissions as well. Now that most mainstream media are Big Businesses, the payrolls are leaner and there are fewer writers. Most of them are required to be “generalists” and too often they have neither the time to acquire the needed background, or they aren’t allowed to be so profligate with their employer’s money. As a writer, and a journalism teacher responsible for the next generation of media writers, this trend concerns me. And I know of many gifted, young writers who have given up on a career in media simply because they are frustrated that they cannot create those longer, contextual pieces because their publishers are not interested. The public in general has a short attention span, and the quick hits we are expected to produce these days only make it shorter.

  5. Cathy A. Dew wrote:

    Jesus Christ himself warns us of his second coming, but millions will miss out on heaven. It’s not crappy journalism. It’s the inspired word of God: Get ready for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

    Please have a little patience with my writing. Most often what I write is thoroughly confusing. I must have the patience of Job to pass this test.

    James 1:5 says, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

    Pen name: Job

  6. CVH wrote:

    Judi expands my point as only an experienced writer and teacher could. I agree with her assessment of so-called big media, having worked in the field (radio and television) for a number of years. The merger mania of the 80’s and 90’s, followed by the inevitable downsizing required to compete in a lean competitive environment is largely responsible for two trends: good people have left the field or been let go because their insistence on thorough research, writing in context and bringing balance to a story is not seen as necessary or desirable; and second, the ’short-attention-span mindset’ of most middle managment and the short-sighted desire to create readership/viewership/listenership through polarized controversy has trumped traditional journalistic standards and the essential role of writer as storyteller, not opinion-giver. (I realize that’s a horribly wordy sentence but maybe Judi can help me out :))

    Mergers, downsizing of staff, an educational system that devalues English grammar and usage, and the obsession with the bottom line have all contributed to a downward spiral in standards. There are always some notable exceptions in every field, but even more sad than the dumbing down of the media is the fact that they’re delivering it to a culture that seems increasingly indifferent. Critical thinking? What’s that? Constructive dialogue? Huh? Seeking to understand the world and our part in it (from politics to economics to culture to…southern gospel!) isn’t on most people’s agenda. Rather, they live for each week’s new installment of American Idol, buy trash magazines at the checkout counter and engage in largely superficial interpersonal relationships that reflect the paucity of meaning and substance in their lives. And that’s all before you even get to the spiritual aspect of our condition!

    Getting back to the original post about how mainstream writers cover southern gospel, I think the simplest way to approach it is for both SG artists and the writers to consider the genre either entertainment or ministry. Keep it simple, primary colors, three-syllable words, no deeper quest to explore the cultural or social implications (even if the writer is so inclined). As in all areas of life, people who get it, get it. Those who don’t, dont.

  7. burt wrote:

    O-KAY???

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