The Mindful Journalist

By Steed Dropout
Sept. 11, 2016

Photo by Ted Friedman


Any journalist worth his weight in dry-salami will tell you that “mindfulness” is over-rated.

This, an unavoidable conclusion, after a recent media-blitz recommending mindfulness for what ails the common man.

It is difficult to quarrel with the basic truths of mindfulness. Its opposites— distractedness, inattention—are unlikely to catch-on. Mindlessness would be a hard sell.

Mindfulness is here to stay. Like hearsay.
Like centeredness. Like the here and now.

Numerous occupations rely on mindfulness: stunt-man, brain-surgeon, juggler, magician, chef, railroad engineer, airplane pilot, policeman/soldier.


If ever there was a field where mindfulness mattered, photo-journalism is it. The crucial seconds which tell a news story cannot be missed. That takes mindfulness.

Yet, Journalist and Photo-journalist rank high in adult-attention deficit disorder (AADD). Berkeley Reporter’s own attention deficits preclude a mindful account of why people with attention problems are attracted to journalism.

The diary of a journalist, if one could sit still long enough to keep one, would be filled with details. Layers upon layers of details. How can some one with AADD possibly attend to such details—the journalist’s stock-and-trade?

Perhaps it’s despite AADD that journalists persevere. Perhaps attention deficit journalists must work harder, just as a stammerer must work harder to be a great orator.

The attention-deficit journalist peels away layers of facts to reveal more facts, then more facts to support those further facts.

It’s not just who, what, where, when, and why; but according to and reportedly, as well.


A recent Berkeley Reporter piece covered a save-the-trees event in the community room of a seniors community nestled in a forest near Cal’s Strawberry Canyon.

To make a point, the speaker raised a bottle of Monsanto’s Roundup, an insecticide, to his lips and pretended to guzzle it before shocked listeners, yelled, “No. No. Don’t do it.”

The mindful journalist must note that Monsanto’s insecticide has been widely used since 1974, although damage law suites are still before the courts.

The history of the controversy would have to traced. To be traced, the history would have to be understood.

More details for the attention-challenged journalist.

Only a chemist could, possibly, understand research relevant to the safety of Monsanto poison. Still, the mindful journalist must make sense of it.


It is unfortunate when the mindful journalist’s attention deficits kick in and he must race to the end of his piece.

Tree-saver tries to drink “Monsanto Poison.” But poison to whom?

The mindful journalist blunders on, deficits be damned.

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