Monday, August 29, 2005

Young People--Passive?

I had an editorial in the Washington Post's Outlook section yesterday. I was asked to do a piece on youthful idealism and activism, somehow addressing the question "Where's the passion?" I ended up positing that the young people of today are just as active, on a per-capita basis, as the youth movement of the '60s to whom we are endlessly compared, but our emphasis is different, plus we are not getting the same attention because the boomers are still the star of the show.

It was an interesting experience, since I don't usually write straight-up editorials; revisions were mainly aimed at getting my voice into the story more. It was fun writing for a national paper; I got over 40 emails from people of all ages, most of which have been positive. All in all, though, it reminded me why I feel more comfortable doing reporting and relying on facts and artfully presented details. When you start writing straight advocacy journalism, it feels good to come out and say what you think (the war was a mistake). But you are inevitably standing on shaky ground when you base your arguments on things like opinion polls and the number of people who marched down Lake Shore Drive in Chicago in 1968.
I think I would like to leave that stuff to the professional opinion mongerers. Not that I don't have plenty of theories to share.

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