Let's continue this self indulgent streak. Why not? I recently, for the first time, was published talking about my own experiences in the context of a news event.
Anyone who I have sat with (likely with a glass of wine) has heard me rant about the over saturation of online media (not news) when it comes to personal essays and unqualified people giving uninformed insights. These articles then get shared as if they are fact --- they aren't --- and they aren't news.
So when I sat down and thought about writing an opinion piece about the racism spewing on social media in my home province I was torn. When is it okay as a journalist (and one who prioritizes staying as objective as possible) to bring their own lived experience into an article?
Truth be told, I still don't know. But I do know that after reading a lot of commentary in news media, there was a story that wasn't being told -- the one of people acknowledging not only that racism exists in Saskatchewan but that the majority of non-Indigenous people who live there have taken part in racist behaviour at some point in their lives.
I couldn't write about this topic without recognizing my own role in systemic racism in Saskatchewan. Instead of faking an objectivity that clearly wasn't there, I decided to write my first "essay-style" piece.
It went over well and the response was encouraging, both from Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
The Colten Boushie story is not mine to tell, but the entitlement and discrimination is.
I still don't really have an outline for when it's okay and when it's not okay, and I don't plan to make a habit of it, but in this case I think I made the right call.
That's the tough thing about journalism, your journalistic sense and understanding is ever evolving. I have a certain set of values, which I will maintain, but there's a lot of grey area to find your way through.
Kelly Geraldine Malone is a freelance journalist, podcaster, and radio producer based out of Manitoba, Canada