Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Welcome to the light ...

I must admit, I find myself in an unusual situation.

Most often, I'm the “token liberal” or the most liberal person within a group. I look around and compared to the rest of the crowd, I'm ultra-left wing.

Now, I've spoken of this fallacy before. I'm not left-wing. I'm a centrist. A moderate. (of course, don't we all think we're moderate and everyone else is crazy?)

Anyway, based on the people who call my show and some of the comments I get from them, you'd think I was so far left I was Communist (of course, some people actually think I am).

So a few months ago when Chuck Richardson approached me about a progressive web site he was hoping to put together with the help of another friend of ours, Pat Lowther, I thought it sounded like a good idea and I offered to help with logistics if it would be possible.

When a few days later, I was released from my duties with Greater Niagara Newspapers, I told Chuck I'd be able to help more than I thought – and as such, I joined the pair of trouble makers – miscreants – whathaveyou – in their endeavor to build the perfect web site.

To be fair, the amount of help I've so far given could be measured as slim to none, but I'm into the concept of telling news in a more telling fashion – if that makes sense.

Too often, I think the news business is constrained by rules which prevents them from really telling the story. A reporter for most news agencies can't say in a story whether or not they believed their subject in the course of an interview – they can only prevent facts and allow the reader to “pick up” on whether the subject is telling the truth.

Unfortunately this method is far from fool proof. First of all, the reader isn't really “there” and the best writer in the world can only make them fell like they're there. They can't actually put them there – so tone, inflection, body movement – is for the most part lost. These things are key in “reading” people.

You'll notice that NiagaraBuzz.com articles have some of these details in them .. and whether or not we buy into what the subjects are saying.

But, hey, I'm getting off track here.

So Chuck and Pat looked around and found some other interested people in putting together NiagaraBuzz.com. And they're a fine group of people. But looking at them, I realize that I'm the (gasp) conservative in this group.

Ack. That's crazy. Me being the conservative in any group is both scary and ... no, I guess it's just scary.

Now, I've had a page on MY web site for a while now specially reserved for Chuck. I called it Left of Leffler – because, well, because he is. In fact, sometimes Chuck scares me too, but that's another column for another day.

No, here's what you should get out of this today: Diversity is good and NiagaraBuzz.com is abound in it. From my pro-business POV to Chuck's “down with the corporation” standpoint ... Bob's environmentalism ... Jared's poetry ... Avis' flair ... Alex's web savvy, and C. Roberts Abel's sheer ability to take a complex subject and break it down to an understandable level, you're in for a treat.

We're not your grandmother's web site – and we're not a typical news source – no, we're better on both accounts, and I'm sure you'll agree in the end. And while we make take some getting used to, once you do – you won't want to log off.