For Tony and Angie and everyone else on the Broo editorial team.
I enjoy writing for BrooWaha. The Wikipedia article describes it as an “online citizen’s newspaper with a focus on local news.” That seems rather odd to me. After all, what is ‘local news’ in the age of the internet? The briefest of glances will show you that the ‘news’ it reports (actually most of the articles are not news at all) is from here, there and everywhere. Perhaps the world itself is now local. Our neighbours are all on the moon!
My own articles cover just about anything that engages my interest. I’ve been contributing for over a year now, usually three times a week, and in that period I’ve had over a hundred and fifty articles published, the latest another bash at scientology in my regular Tuesday Letters from Ana column (Scientology Child, 10 July). There is some overlap with Ana the Imp, when I feel it is appropriate, but a goodly number have not been published here or anywhere else.
It’s been an interesting experience for me, an amateur virtual journalist. Actually my contributions are less journalism, in the sense of hot reports, and more opinion pieces, features and reflections, the kind of thing I specialise in, often with an acidy angle. Hey, it’s my speciality, a piquant prose sauce!
I do try to pick up fresh news items, the sort of thing that the BrooWaha audience might not have come across elsewhere in the mainstream media. A recent report of mine on a live worm being removed from the eye of an Indian pensioner has proved particularly popular, popular enough to have reached the number one spot in the Most Read Articles. (Worm Found Live in an Eye, 1 July)
I think I have a feel now for the audience and the sort of thing that is likely to appeal. Most readers and contributors, though not all, are from the Anglo-Saxon sphere, and of that sphere my assumption is that most are North Americans. Any decent writer has to reach out their audience, to understand what is likely to swim and what is just as likely to sink.
I now know that I cannot make my pieces too local or too weighty. Still, the audience can be unpredictable. Articles that I thought might only carry a minority interest have climbed high in the readership stakes. The thing is never to talk down or condescend to people. I always treat my readers with the same respect, my style not varying at all from the light-hearted to the serious. I believe I could write with equal ease for the Sun or the Telegraph. I make no assumption and do I take things for granted; explanation is offered where explanation is needed. All that matters is clarity. Good prose is like a window pane, George Orwell wrote, something that I always have in mind.