How I Got to be “The World’s Worst Reporter”
by Steed Dropout
Jan 28, 2013
I DON’T WANT TO GET AHEAD OF THE STORY.
“All thought or speech is false” — Aleister Crowley
How I got to be the world’s worst reporter, or is it worst in the country.
I’ve got to be the world’s worst reporter by not being sure that was really the title. Was it in the world or in the country? I was so sure it was the world and not just the country, and besides it’s a better story as world.
I got lucky at hyphenatedrepublic.wordpress.com, where I received the World’s Worst Reporter award.
It’s a bracing yarn, but the gist of is that I’m the pits. Unfortunately I have a previous worst; last year during Occupy Berkeley — when the national co-founder of Occupy denounced me to the General Assembly as writing the worst stories in the whole country on Occupy.
We responded with this piece.
Now there’s how I got to be the world’s worst reporter. By reliance on my memory when I could easily check. It’s a dangerous game, impending certain doom.
I can’t imagine another reporter showing this wanton (Geraldo River?) disregard for the truth. I’ve done much worse than just making mistakes. I’ve moved characters about in my pieces like a movie director.
My sources have it tough.
I’ve put words in their mouths, answered my own questions and in some stories I am the subject. I did a piece called “Shit On A Stick,” and another, “A Tale of ChickenShit Marketing,” but my editor is starting to bulk at the smut, calling me “adolescent.”
As soon as I wrote that here, the adolescent thing took off. I went from being wrong, to adolescent, bragging I was shedding all those years.
Some pervert was vetting my stories for truth or coherence, and tossing out the pearls with the swine. I love manhandling metaphors.
AFTER BEING GIVEN THE AWARD WORST OF . . .
One has to step back in order to step up. One has to step-step-step. Hup-hup-hup. You’re at the bottom of a very long list of successes, who played by the rules, stayed employed at major newspapers despite cutbacks, and may be supporting families.
Now its our turn for recognition. So what if it’s bad recognition, it is palpable, hefty, something marketable, like breeding dogs so ugly they’re cute, like Boxers, does this work?; I’m so bad I don’t care.
NO ONE SAID I COULDN’T WRITE
But wait; no one says I can’t write. Some even comment that they dislike my content but appreciate the writing. The Editor of the Berkeley Dally Planet often compliments my writing (never the reporting), and even at Berkeleyside, where they resisted my voice at first they now let enough voice seep in to brand me.
The City of Berkeley Police Chief, Michael K. (although I’ve called him M) Meehan reads me and says I have some good ideas on crime. Captain Andrew Greenwood reads me, too.
No decent reporter would get this close to sources. I am also too close to Craig Becker, owner of the Med., and Roland Peterson of TBID, and to many cops too numerous to name.
On the Washington beat some well known journalists golfed with their sources, but everyone used to golf with everyone back in the day.
The only thing I have not done was to completely make something up.
Maybe that’s not true; Shit on a Stick was a hoax, although chicken-shit marketing was for real. And two crime pieces last year had re-created material that was not corroborated.
Any of the techniques I use, if I used them at a major publication, would be cause for immediate firing (“And don’t come back.”)
The last time I got fired was 1959, from the Champaign-Urbana Courier. That was my last journalism job; I had already decided that $55 a week didn’t cut it.
I was bound for magazines advertising or PR. Then I “took an MA in Creative writing” and hoped to vault the system. But I wasn’t good enough.
Soon I was living in a Northside Berkeley Park. If you’ve ever wondered what price you might have to pay to live out a delusion, read no further.
SO I WENT BACK TO MY FUTURE
Just started fooling around for the Planet a few years ago, and now I’m a well known fuck-up, a role I played in 1958, when someone switched my ROTC name tag, to “Gen. Fuck-Up.”
I wouldn’t change this image for all the facts in the world. As I told students at the Daily Californian last semester, “facts get in the way of my story.” I go through the motions, and always include a little reporting, though.
Here at BR we think this makes sense.