What next to ANNtourage?
Many journalists, especially those of a certain age, have a bitter attitude toward their readers. That’s probably because of a lifetime of painful interactions with political axe-grinders and people whose moms’ names were spelled wrong in a photo caption by some doofus copy editor. You would not believe the angry phone calls we field, the prickly interactions in the grocery line, the gritted teeth when buttonholed at the bar.
Many readers have a pretty rotten opinion of journalists, too. Our credibility has been fading for a long time, but now, in the Digital Age, citizens can and do choose to read, watch and listen only to news sources they’re in tune with. Whether you’re a Fox News kinda gal or you tune in to NPR on the way to work, we’re all wearing narrower and narrower blinders, and anyone not locked into our viewpoint is … suspicious. And don’t even get me started on sports coverage — obviously reporters are all secretly rooting for the other team. Obviously.
This month, we start a little experiment to break down the wall between crusty newscreature and vexed reader. We call it ANNtourage and we intend to use it to bring nonjournalists into the journalistic process. Simply, we recruit social-media-friendly folks to attend events and we record their reactions.
For the first one, we’re taking it easy: a fun outing highlighting a sliver of Ann Arbor’s dizzying array of cultural opportunities. It might seem crazy, but we intend to cover “hard” news with our project, too. We think the right crew of bright and interested citizens will have something meaningful to say about City Council or cops and courts — or any bread-and-butter source of community news. Things none of us at The Ann would ever have considered. Facts and insights of which we were not aware. Opinions that challenge us to open our minds.
What would you like to see us cover with ANNtourage? Buzz me at jim [at] theannmag.com.
The designer, Jim McBee, had a blast doing the first ANNtourage. As a lifelong copy editor and designer, he looked with envy on photojournalists and features writers who got to do all the cool stuff while he was chained to a newsroom desk. Against all imprecations, he totally reads the comments.
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