It seems very much like you want to be a journalist, Dingo, so I'm curious about whether you have experience in the field. What have you reported on? What are your most important principles in producing a piece of journalism?
Could you give an example of a journalist, documentarian, or a particular piece of work that you hold in high esteem? What special considerations, if any, do you keep in mind in terms of writing about a culture that 1) you're an active participant in, 2) has nearly zero awareness among the broader public, and 3) that you have a vested interest in?
No, I'm not a journalist by any stretch of the imagination. I am starting a journalism course. I haven't been flattering myself that anything I do now is seriously 'journalism.'
Principles I have taken though, in my first course, I was introduced to the idea of objectivity as a process. This meant you didn't have to make work that is completely unopinionated, but you do have to essentially give your readers enough information that if they think you're full of it, they can check your claims easily. From memory this meant
- if you know something, explain where you know it from.
- if you can't say where you know it from, say why you can't tell us (why was this source so important you were willing to take them off the record)
- if you make or report a criticism, you give the subject the right of response
- if you have a conflict of interest, announce it.
I love John Pilger very dearly. He exemplifies the above. Pretty much a card carrying lefty, he gives detailed investigation into complex world issues and has been given interviews with pretty major figures. Also the Aussie investigation into asbestos interests me.
In terms of influence, Jon Ronson and Louis Theuroux both have a detached, objective and non judgemental style I admire.
For one and three; me being active in and having a vested interest in Discordia I've done three things. I've been honest about my involvement, I've attempted to consciously step away from my own biases to let people define Discordia for themselves, and I've made mention of my own views, when occasionally relevant. Of course that last one will stay or go in the editing.
In case of 2 that it has nearly zero public awareness, at present I am explaining the origins of Discordia, then kind of building up a slow map of the Discordian egragore through the people I meet; someone says greyface, I explain what that means, etc. The main thing I'm doing is avoiding giving an explicit estimation of what Discordia IS, but emphasising the variation in interpretations. And of course while all this in what's happening in the writing process, if there's any problems left in place, the editing will aim to resolve them.