Wick Communications

Telling our stories

In Writing on March 1, 2012 at 11:29 am

I just finished a book of California short stories that included a piece by D.J. Waldie. I liked his story – a fine portrait of the L.A. suburb of Lakewood – and noticed that it came from a blog called “Where We Are.” The blog is a production of the Los Angeles PBS affiliate, and Waldie is a retired employee of the city of Lakewood.

Waldie appears to traffic in the little stories found in the everyday world around us. Even in the flat terrain of the L.A. sprawl, he finds pearls. Sometimes you don’t appreciate these jewels until you shine them up and present them.

Here’s where Waldie’s blog led me last night. Telling L.A.’s Stories is a production of the journalism students at Loyola-Marymount University and the brainchild of longtime Los Angeles journalist and instructor Lynell George. Here’s how she explained it in an email to me:

I started the blog back in 2010 with the first Telling L.A. Stories class I taught at LMU. The pieces the students were writing about their Los Angeles were so strong, I felt that they needed a bigger audience. The students inspired it. I’d been encouraging them to dig deep an think about what it was to be a native of L.A. or a transplant and how that has shaped their personal story. Did they think that their L.A. was represented at all? How could it be represented better? And, as you point out, what were the stories all around them that they felt got stepped over, ignored, erased? …

I bet many of us feel that our communities are not fully rendered in the press, even in our own newspapers. It’s so easy to generalize about the good schools, the bad neighborhoods, etc. And the Telling L.A. Stories exercise helps writers see things around them they may otherwise take for granted.

Just thought it was interesting. Wouldn’t it be cool if we started a blog like that on our newspaper website, one devoted solely to those who wanted to enlighten readers about some forgotten aspect of the community?

Clay

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  1. […] on-line mentions of my journalism students’ group blog Telling L.A.’s Story. (And here too)The class,  a feature-writing course  focused on encouraging students to pause and really think […]

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