Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I got scolded because I wasn't local enough.

Since January, I've been writing local comic book articles for examiner.com's Charlotte site. Today I got my first scolding for my article I posted Sunday, DC is whitewashing itself. It wasn't removed, I wasn't "fired", and by no means am I going to quit writing for them. However, I am going to vent a little.

The article is a good one, in my opinion, however not my best. One of the things I've noticed in the few months that I've done this is that the quality of an article does not always get noticed broadly. One article that I wrote, Illegally downloading comics hurts local shops, not publishers, is one of my least viewed articles, and has no reason to be. It's a damn fine article.

The way examiner.com and other web sites like to pay columnists, including me is based on page views, not by the word or article. This puts me at the mercy of my biggest referrers, namely the comic shops that I write about. If I were to care specifically about that, I'd be wary of writing articles critical of them and in another article, Reviews need to support the Charlotte comics community, that I shouldn't try to be overly critical just for the sake of being critical, and since writing that, I've made it my position that I just won't talk about the bad, when it comes to local shops. If you don't see a local store mentioned much in articles I write, it's because, quite simply, I don't have anything good to say about them. Only one shop meets that criteria, by the way, another I just haven't had the time to highlight. But I digress.

I contacted a creator for comments on something negative about the industry, and  was told that he didn't want to comment, for fear of biting the hand that feeds him. Well, as a journalist, albeit a very inexperienced one with limited coverage, I cannot do that. Honesty may not always be the best policy, but withholding honesty when something is just going wrong, or when criticism can effect positive change is just playing it safe and no one did their best by playing it safe.

Case in point, an interview with Barbara Kesel revealed that her career started with her being critical of DC Comics' treatment towards female characters and her constructive criticism has continued within an industry that continues to pander towards a fan base that is predominantly white, male and aging more and more. She is still openly critical of her industry, but does so constructively. That's my job when I have to be critical and how I ended my article about the role of minorities diminishing at DC:
So when talking to writers at conventions, especially HeroesCon, ask them about diversity in comic characters and ask them why the heroes in comic books don't look more like the rest of the country? 
Continue reading on Examiner.com

That's my promise to myself when writing these articles, that I will, whenever I have to be critical will urge actions by comics fans, creators, and business owners in how to move forward to remedy the situation in question.

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