Here's an audio interview I did with Turnstyle News, a new outlet based out of Youth Radio in Oakland, Calif. We talk about the emo riots, the cosmopolitan nature of D.F., and a topic I knew would be coming up: Why did you feel it was OK to address your own dabbling in drug use in some sections of the book?
As I tell interviewer Nishat Kurwa, in more words, of course ... Why not? Not like it's never been done before. In the interest of transparency, I showed those sections to my parents before I showed them to anyone else. Without any misgivings. Think about it: Bet a good majority of your editors and media execs -- to say nothing of your president -- went through exactly what I did when I first hit D.F., my "impossible city" in a world of many.
Listen to the Turnstyle News interview here.
I'm stopping this afternoon at UC Irvine to speak to the students of Erika Hayasaki, a former colleague at the L.A. Times and now an assistant professor of literary journalism at Irvine. This evening, Stories in Echo Park. Wednesday, I'll (still) be talking about the book to the students of Ruben Martinez, journalist, author, and professor at Loyola Marymount University in West L.A. Here's that flier.
Thursday's the party.
Last week's reading at Calacas in downtown Santa Ana went really well. Lots of community came out, people who were born in D.F. or had been there, or never been there but were migrants to the North. A handful of young Latino journalists came down from the Orange County Register, as Gustavo Arellano reported.
I was struck by those very brief conversations. The young reporters seemed solid, smart, good at those instinctual skills that all good reporters carry. So why did they also seem underwhelmed, frustrated, overworked, and caged in by the system that employs them? It's the same, I gather, with young journalists of color in a lot of other newsrooms.
In my case, after I kept hitting the same walls and kept dealing with the same regressive assumptions and practices that permeate big newsrooms, I just got up and ... walked out. I bounced, without looking back. But maybe it's time we think harder about this. Maybe it's time to start a conversation. Again.
As reporters in a changing, browning America, Why are we still grumbling? Abandoning ship? Compromising ourselves and our values? When will we be allowed to do the work that matters to us, on our terms, not terms invented by other generations and other value systems? It's 2011. Why are we still waiting "our turn" while so many aimless news organizations wither under the pressures of the digital age?
... Something to think about.
* Above, the Genova street entrance to the Glorieta de Insurgentes, Mexico D.F., January 2011.