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Entering J-school, I was so sold on the whole reporter bit. Notepads, cold-calls, awkward interviews – the lifestyle. About halfway into my journey at Humber College, I learned while I did love telling stories and communicating with others, I certainly didn’t love reporting the news. I mean – I love consuming the robot news about city politics. In fact, I’m actually a pretty big fan of news-talk radio. But somewhere along the line it kind of got old, boring, and dare I say it, repetitive.
It wasn’t too long ago I remember thinking to myself ‘I am more than just a journalist,’ – a thought I never thought would have entered my mindset. I mean, I pride myself on being a journalist and part of this thing we call free press, but over time I’ve come to understand why some people look down on journalists. And looking at the way Toronto politics has been covered, especially since Rob Ford took office, makes me never want to work for a daily, regardless of the beat I’d get stuck with.
When starting this whole Swept thing, the idea of a having a monthly magazine really wasn’t part of what I envisioned. It was purely a web thing. But after my final year of college, I realized- here at Swept, we actually can pull it off. We aren’t a big organization. We didn’t resort to crowd sourcing (let’s be honest – it wouldn’t work anyway), we didn’t take out a loan. We just sort of did it.
Would the extra starting funds have been nice ? You bet. Did I ever want to crack sometimes and just give up on the publication? I would be lying if I said no.
But, I always take the time to remember why I started Swept, which was to build a publishing space where it isn’t about an agenda, it isn’t about which political party you slant toward, it isn’t about the hits on the site and advertising potential (though that is pretty important). Swept’s not about any of those things – it’s about telling good genuine stories (both fiction and non-fiction) and showcasing awesome creative individuals work regardless of niche.
If you aren’t building your own dreams, you are helping build someone else’s.
I use this phrase all too often, but it is truly a fundamental part of the foundation of Swept. Not just for us on the editorial team who get to have fun and chase stories and produce content that we prefer, but also for those who contribute to Swept, as we offer a relatively easy way to get published and noticed.
In the end we aren’t this big entity. We don’t have an office in the core of Toronto where the coffee is brewing. We are relatively unknown and all of this is okay. As I was told many times by many of my profs, “news isn’t happening in the newsroom – it’s happening everywhere else.” And just like news, Swept is everywhere but in one spot. Good stories will always be out there and Swept will always be ready to find them. Would you look at that? The U.S. government just shut down… Looks like there’s a new column topic.
As always folks, be swift and do it live.