May 14, 2008

Both sides of the camera: story subject, story maker

As you might be able to tell from the radio silence here on Waking Vixen for the past bunch of weeks, I’ve been busy pursuing other stuff. That other stuff is primarily in the form of writing posts and shooting video for Naked City, though there’s other stuff in the works too (teaching my first college course, working on a new book, brainstorming dirty movies, planning a trip to Amsterdam, falling hopelessly behind on answering email, not posting wrap ups of my internet goings on).

Though for years I’ve played around in the weird space of being an Interesting Person Worthy of Media Attention and a media maker, this little dance has gotten increasingly interesting since I’ve become editor of the Village Voice sexuality blog.

I’ve been writing the blog in the first person – none of that editorial we stuff – and I haven’t been afraid to express my opinions. After all, the Voice hired me for me and my whole thing (I’m gesticulating wildly, FYI). However, I’ve also been leaving myself out of the picture more often than not. Though you’ll hear my voice overs in the weekly Naked City TV episodes, I haven’t yet done an on camera appearance. I like being in the spotlight sometimes, and I’m good at doing the media thing. But I don’t want it to be overkill, I want other people’s voices to come to the forefront, in a way that isn’t totally mediated by the Word of Audacia. I know that all media I produced is tainted with my perspective (tainted I say!), which is fine, cool even – but it doesn’t all need to be about me.

While I don’t want Naked City to be all fangirly posts about people I think are awesome, I’m also acutely aware of the stresses of being interviewed and trusting someone else to represent you. I’ve been asking thinky and sometimes tough questions in my Four on the Floor interviews, but I also strive to represent people at their best. Shooting and editing weekly video episodes has been challenging in this regard – sometimes people are bad on camera. Sometimes they say dumb things or things that make them look crazy. I edit that stuff away as an attempt at paying it forward.

I hope this doesn’t make me a less critical member of the media – I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. But there are still some stories I cringe away from. For example, in my first week of blogging at Naked City, I was offered a set of nude photos of a reality show star. These images had been made a few years ago, and would be upsetting to the star if they were leaked. Part of me was excited about the potential for breaking a story, getting lots of traffic, etc. Overwhelmingly, though, I had a sense of dread with pangs of creepiness. That’s not at all the kind of editor I want to be. I didn’t have to make this tough choice since there weren’t any releases for the images and I wasn’t going to tangle with that. I’m sure other stuff like this will come up. I do love me some gossip – but I like to hear it, not publish it. Is it even possible to maintain that party line and have a successful blog? Time will tell, I suppose.

1 Comment on “Both sides of the camera: story subject, story maker”

1
Amber
5.14.08
3:56 pm

I think you’re doing the right thing… I mean, you’re doing what media *should( do, right? Give people a space to make their voices heard. You’re representing them in the best possible light but not being deceptive – basically because you’re letting them speak for themselves. It’s a delicate balance but I think so far you are pulling it off fabulously!

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