Column by Bonnie J. Gordon
Since I was a baby journalist in high school, people have been trying to convince me that I should be writing hard news.
Why, well meaning individuals keep asking me, should I be wasting my talents writing lifestyles and entertainment and features when I could be covering something “really important?”
News flash—I’m already writing about the really important stuff. Sure, crime, politics and county government are important. I’m glad other people want to write about them.
I’m convinced however, that soft news is just as important.
Take arts and entertainment for example. Here in Los Alamos, we have the opportunity to attend a terrific play at the Los Alamos Little Theatre one night and a truly excellent ballet by New Mexico Dance Theater the next.
We can see beautiful paintings at the Art Center at Fuller Lodge in between.
It’s important to know about these things because they make living here fun, interesting, and yes, meaningful.
Writing about and reading about local art happenings is very cool because most of these events are the product of our neighbors’ imagination and talent.
There’s something really special about an art scene that belongs to us and is a product of our very special place in the world.
We can meet the artists and discuss their visions, not just observe from afar. We also have the opportunity to become involved in the art scene and develop our own talent and vision.
Don’t even get me started on the Summer Concert Series. Hanging out in the park with your neighbors, listening to great music and best of all, dancing under the stars—now that’s what I call a meaningful experience.
I want everyone to know who’s playing this week and get excited about being there. Ah the joys of writing lifestyles.
Then there are the features. I get to write about what I want to read about. Seeing their farms and finding out all about the vendors at the Farmers’ Market makes buying your lettuce a lot more interesting. Whether someone’s passion is playing the accordion or raising Welsh corgis, there’s always something to learn from the people who are passionate in their pursuits.
There’s an unimaginable wealth of things you never thought about before that can light up your world when you read about them in a feature.
Maybe alpaca ranching should be your newest interest, or maybe you just have fun reading about it.
Turning folks on to a really neat place just down the road in a travel feature makes me feel like I’m adding potential value to the lives of everyone in the vicinity.
There are other kinds of features that impact our hearts and minds.
Learning about those who have made a contribution to the community, had their lives changed by adopting a child or climbed a mountain can awaken us to new possibilities in our own lives as well as give us a window into realities we’d never otherwise experience.
I think that’s about as important as journalism gets.
So while my colleagues are at the County Council meeting or hanging out with the cops outside a meth lab, I’m happy to be at the dog show, learning all about obedience trials or scribbling a concert review in the dark at the Duane Smith Auditorium.
I’ll continue to think this is information people need to know.
And lest you think writing lifestyles is for sissies, I once covered hot oil wrestling at the Canyon Bar. No kidding.