While checking up on one of the local blogs, Save Our Community, I read that Hillary Clinton was going to be at Cal State LA on Saturday. Cool, I thought. I should go. After all, who knows when the next time I’ll be able to see a presidential candidate.
Even though I don’t normally work on Saturday, I got the assignment. But here’s the thing. After it was assigned to me, my boss asked, “Are you going to vote for Hillary?” After I gave him my answer, I got to thinking: That’s a trick question. If I answer yes, then he will think I’m going because I want to somehow promote her. If I answer no, then he’ll think I’ll write a piece that will somehow bash her. (Even if I did try to write a piece pushing one way or another — which I wouldn’t — editors would pick up on it.) And if I say, “I’m not going to vote,” then it shows how lame I am. Plus, I wonder whether he asked all of our reporters who have ever written about any election how they were going to vote. Should we give up our right to vote just because we are journalists?
My boss pressed on: “Well, I heard you were going to go to the event anyway.” Yeah. But so what? As a reporter, I jump at every opportunity that would lead to a good story — on and off assignments. Gay pride parades, riots, marches, cop activity. I like that stuff. It’s entertaining. And I don’t go just to get a story in the paper, but for a story when I am 70 years old and I can say, “I remember when I met Bill Richardson,” or, “I remember the time when I saw Hugh Hefner pounding down drinks at the Sante Fe Dam.”
I’m still not sure what the right answer was. I just gave him an honest one.