The idea was a grand one.
It’s rare these days to be in on a grand idea, an idea that for a short time is so free of the daily round of human nonsense that you are almost short of breath.
The idea was that a crew of mostly ex-newspaper writers could remake American Journalism the right way, the way that we thought we hadn’t been allowed to in our short years covering…, well covering.
Covering the world, or at least the world formed between the river and the falls.
We’d do it the right way, because we knew better. We’d sat at our desks and seen editors kill stories without explaining to us why, and seen them strangle the last drops from stories that should never have been written in the first place, without explaining to us why. And we were smart and talented and bright and ambitious. Which is true. But did we really know better? Did I really know better?
My ideals for the Dagger were lofty to say the least. As well as unrealistic. At some level I knew that, but why not, I’d think. Why can’t there be a new model for news reporting? There will be eventually. The big guys are surrendering territory like it’s radioactive. We’d slip in and fill the gap, not with the same old story but with the new one. The one you could feel proud of. One that was truly impartial, one where party affiliations would be ignored. One where no advertiser anywhere could weasel their black claws into our foundations.
And of course when I say “the new story you feel proud of”, I mean the one I felt proud of. Wrong wrong wrong. A basic human failing, and probably the basic human failing.
From where I’m sitting, the first real bump in the road threw me for good. A stupid question of who, and even if, we would take advertising, a day and a half of hasty emails back and forth, replies written so quickly that misunderstandings and resentments spread like a grass fire.
We were all foolish, none more then myself.
But, a year of work reporting is a year of work reporting, a year of information and discussion that would not have happened otherwise. That is something to cherish. I have some strong reservations with the direction the Dag has taken. The unreported conflicts of interest by some of the writers are a flat out poison, to the site and the community. The comment boards, well, not exactly the label free, intelligent and open environment I think we’d envisioned.
But the Dagger continues on, as it should. A year is a short time, and ideas, especially the really grand ones, thankfully live a little longer then that.
As far as favorite moments, the posting a few days into in the gay marriage story, where a person who had previously posted that homosexuals were basically pedophiliac predators came around to say that he could see how it would be ok for gays to marry. Thats was great.
But the greatest moment, and probably the most good any of us have done all year, was in helping two boys who were lost without their dad in the woods. I let them use my phone, I think Brian gave them a map, and Matt gave them some water. They were getting scared, I think, until they met us. We helped them out, a little. And they made it out of the woods before night fell, made it back to their family.