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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Our Editorial Policy

Don’t laugh, we do have an editorial policy here it’s just that we have not yet articulated it.

Why have an editorial policy?

Well apart from “why not?” there are several reasons why but the ones that motivate me is that it keeps us focused and guides our work.

I read a lot of blogs online and some seem to be going somewhere; some used to have direction but have lost it and others just read like a highly reactive series of screeds (often highly entertaining screeds I might note) with no real focus or genuine output.

Also I, like you, want to get something out of the blogs that I read and don’t just want a rehash of the news. We want informed opinion, debate, interesting facts (or even factoids), insights, analysis and even just to be entertained by the ability of one person to put words together in an interesting way which, even if we don’t agree with its content, compels us to read it from stem to stern.

So with this in mind I set out below a list of things which I like to consider before I write up blog posts.

Those who followed me on KP may remember that I could be relatively regular in my posts (often two a week) but that these posts would also be quite long and this was because I plotted and planned some of my posts out in advance while also working on smaller, shorter filler posts just to keep the momentum going.

In writing on this blog I have a similar approach but without other contributors to support and buttress my output there may be gaps in between posts that are larger than my KP output. For that I apologies but it’s the peril of a one person blog.

So without any further ado here are the planks of this blogs “editorial policy”.

Politics – No surprises that the primary area this blog looks at will be politics but as the saying goes “anything can be political” so that gives me a wide area for comment but in reality I will try and stick to what I am interested in and what I know. New Zealand politics will get attention but so will other areas where politics or political views apply.

Expert Opinion – Not something I ever got a chance to really do at KP but that will change as much of my career and study has had a high focus on international relations and Security so it’s time to share some of my area knowledge or subject matter expertise when I can.

You don’t work in international education, mental health, advertising, security, the military and government (along with hospitality and others as part time jobs) as well as a decade living and working in strange climes (I am told I can get a cream for that) without getting a broad base of experience and knowledge which can be applied to many things. In short I am a big mouth know-it-all.

In Depth – I am never just one to make surface comments or reflect what the media itself is saying. I get paid to have an inquiring mind and the will to dig further than mere surface appearances so what I write about here will attempt to go deeper than often just the most obvious aspects of a story or situation. I am also by nature naturally curious/nosy/gossipy so what better place to let those tendencies run free.

My Persona – The person you are reading is not the person who is writing. What I mean by this is I have developed a particular persona for my blogging. Part Hunter S Thompson, part John Stewart, Part George Orwell, a dash of Bill Hicks, two parts Daffy Duck, a pinch of Clausewitz and a sprinkle of the original gadfly himself, Socrates. This is not who I am when at work or in other parts of my life. 

It’s a combustible mix but then it’s supposed to be. It allows me to detach from my own beliefs and prejudices and take on the mantle of another mind and write as such.

The basis of this mix is deliberately confrontational, in your face and designed to kick the reader out of their comfort zone as much as possible. Its very teenage radical I admit but old habits die hard and there is nothing I can stand more than mundanity.

Parroting – Sometimes I will follow the thread the media is giving and sometimes I won’t. Just because its front page today does not mean it will be front page tomorrow given the nature of the modern media cycle and its relentless quest for new and novel over actually exploring a story to its natural conclusion.

I do not like the way the media controls the debate in such a way as you can almost guarantee that the positions, ideas and arguments you hear are often pulled straight of new sources like Stuff and read out like an actor reciting lines.

There is nothing wrong with sourcing the mainstream media or following their lead but it’s never enough to just take what they give and stop there and its places like blogs where these discussions can continue forward, rather than descend into incoherent shouting as they often do on Stuffs comments section (which is often quickly closed for more topical stories).

Profanity – The power of such words is robbed when used regularly or inappropriately. I do not use them in my work because it not only lowers the professional tone but because they simply do not add anything to most words except in the rarest of cases (the exception being my time in the military where swearing approached that of an art form and was often highly creative. Sadly it can not really be repeated here because it would lack the effect of the situation/context in which it occurred although this very NSFW scene from Full Metal Jacket may provide some illustration, watch at your own discretion -  you have been warned!).

Also If I am going to take issue with some there are far more creative ways and combinations of words to take someone down a peg than just appending or prefixing a profanity to other words.

Rants – rants are cathartic and often (at least for me) focused burst of creative energy mixed with genuine emotion. They are an outlet for quick-fire inspiration and (again for me) serve as animus to much of what I write (in the reformist sense as much as the angry sense; ie focused anger) in much the same manner as John Lydon sang that anger is an energy.

Sarcasm and Parody – these are my tools in trade as I write. I would like to think it was my quick wit but that has long since devolved into sarcasm so I go with what works. 

Also in this day and age where politicians and the powers that be have openly started to believe they are beyond reproach and publicly lie and act as such then the only response to such actions is not a calm measured analysis but a red blooded piss take with lashings of scathing language and the mocking contempt.

Hyperbole – I was accused a million times of this over on KP more than while and I was guilty as charged but I never saw hyperbole as a bad thing (see Sarcasm and Parody).

Humor – Spike Milligan once said money can’t buy you friends but it can get you a better class of enemy. I laugh at life, and myself and everything around me, the serious is absurd and the absurd is serious. Also I don’t have much money.

Respect – Not so much for those I blog about but for those who take the time to comment. I was very grateful for the comments I got when on KP, even the negative ones as I see them as helping me correct myself as well as keeping me in check.

So for any who take the time to comment on this blog you will get treated with respect in all cases except in the rare instance where that line is crossed and its gets personal. In such cases it’s all bets are off and no quarter asked or given. But since I treat others with respect I usually get it in kind so these situations are rare.

Opinion – I have an opinion and I encourage the readers/commentators to have one also. It makes the discussion much more interesting.

Nothing is sacred – This does not mean I will be going out of my way to insult or offend people but if its needs to be discussed it will be and in full effect.

Humanity – While I come from a rather religious background I am no longer devout in having loyalty to any particular religious franchise. I believe in the power of the human spirit and will in all endeavors and while believing in something bigger than myself and John Key I have no wish to ram my belief structure onto another person. I am a secular humanist as well as an animist as well as a realist. Make of that what you will.

So those are the things which will be guiding me as I write. You might not see all of them in any particular post but they will be there somewhere, guiding me and making sure I am aiming for more than something than just words.

Next post we are back in the saddle as soon as the nitwits in parliament or the rest of the planet gives me cause to start writing. On the side are ongoing posts on Asia and Politics which will surface in due course as well as part II to my Probing the Depths posts.

But if if you would like a summation of the above then I leave you with lyrics from Billy Joel's - The Stranger.

You may never understand
How the stranger is inspired
But he isn't always evil
And he isn't always wrong
Though you drown in good intentions
You will never quench the fire
You'll give into your desire
When the stranger comes along

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