Mixing journalism and religion
For those unfamiliar with "Quakerish," our often quaint and mysterious Quaker language, you need to know that being clerk, to the extent possible in a profoundly egalitarian group of 150, means I've been more or less responsible for the Meeting.
Putting aside one’s own opinions. Easier said than done. We all suffer from subjectivity. When we simply can’t be objective, clerks and journalists need to step aside.
Respecting and accepting the will of others. In the case of journalists, the others are editors; in the case of clerks the others are the Meeting.
Seeking and continually asking what’s most important. Quakers call this discerning, journalists call it distilling the story.
Stating the essence clearly, concisely and accurately.
Protecting people’s privacy and reputations. Being fair. Knowing what NOT to say or write.
If possible and appropriate, entertain.
Clerks (and Quakers) and journalists seek the Truth, although Quakers capitalize it and consider it divinely/spiritually inspired. When both have find it, they seek to express it forcefully.
Foremost, together we seek to create a better world.
So how do the two differ?
Journalists live by deadlines; Quakers and clerks, well, not so much
Clerks and Quakers often find Truth in silence, in putting words aside; journalists, not at all. For journalists, the answer is more words...another interview, reading more documents
Quaker meetings and their clerks are led by the Spirit; journalists are led by editors, publishers and, alas, the whims of the public.
My conclusion: Forty-five years in journalism enriched my two years as clerk. Who would have thought?