I was thinking today about how we in “the business” often refer to our pieces as stories. It’s an odd name, when you think about it. But I still like it better than the other common name we give our work: article. While story is, perhaps, a bit of a misnomer (it’s not fiction, after all; at least, in the newspaper biz, it better not be), it avoids the cold impersonality of the word article.
Articles are simply objects that may or may not matter. They’re means to other ends and have no intrinsic value. Articles can be anything or anyone’s; there is no ownership of an article – things only get names when we make them our own.
No one every says “let me tell you my article” – no, it’s always a story when it belongs to someone.
And that’s why it’s such a heady thing to be a journalist. We are responsible for telling everyone’s story. That’s an awesome responsibility; and a wonderful privilege. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to help many people tell their stories over the years. Every now and then, I go back and read those stories; I often find I’m moved all over again – both by the story itself and the great honor to be asked to tell it.
I love writing. I love hearing stories; and I have a blast telling them.