Re: Rensberger and anthro (long)

John McCreery (jlm@TWICS.COM)
Sat, 26 Oct 1996 00:26:32 +0900

Gina Maranto has said many useful things. There is one that I feel is
especially important.

> In the end, complaining about the lack of complexity in journalism is
>akin to complaining about the lack of good narrative flow in a scientific
>there are structural and methodological reasons for both.

As I read it, this statement implies that anthropologists interested in
expanded coverage of anthropology would do well to invest some time in
thinking about how to distill their observations into short, clear
statements that journalists can use. Not statements that imply, "This is
it, all there is," but statements that say, "This is the heart of the
matter" and lead those who read the journalist's story to want to learn
more about your subject.

For someone as long-winded as I to say so will, I am sure, seem perverse,
but imagine, as an exercise, that you have been given the opportunity to
present what you know as a television commercial. You have at most 20
seconds.You can't say everything. You have to say the one thing that will
interest people enough to motivate them to ask for details. It's an
interesting discipline. Master it and the journalist's constraints will
seem luxurious.;-)

John McCreery
3-206 Mitsusawa HT, 25-2 Miyagaya, Nishi-ku
Yokohama 220, JAPAN

"And the Lord said unto Cyrus, 'Shall the clay say to him who moldest it,
what makest thou? Let the potsherd of the earth speak to the potsherd of
the earth." --An anthropologist's credo