*points upward*

This is a post to remind you to look at the message above. It’ll stay up there while Scout’s fundraising drive is underway. I’m gonna throw some cash her way later tonight and I’d encourage you to do the same.

Look. We talk a lot about how to improve journalism on this site. One of the things I’ve loved best about this blog is that the conversation is almost always productive, the criticism constructive. People who come here know stories, they recognize when the tales are well told, and they’re not averse to praising work done well as often as they rip hackery.

Blogtopia’s getting huge and crazy now, and people are able to do all kinds of things they couldn’t do before. There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell I would have gotten half the attention for my writing as I have since I’ve been online. Podcasting, video, gaggling, it’s all stuff we couldn’t have done without the Internets.

But every time I read some piece of toolery by some asshat magazine writer about “bloggery, the hip new craze that’s sweeping the nation!” I want to remind people that what we do here is really a very old trade. We tell stories to each other. And we do that because for everybody out there reading and blogging and commenting, there’s a story that grabs them, that made them sit up and pay attention, something that made them want to tell other people. You figure out what makes you want to raise your voice, and that’s your life, right there.

Before Scout joined us here I bookmarked something she wrote at her own blog, because it just rang so true to me, about the things we come to care about, the stories we can’t let go of, the moments we either seize or let pass, and the things that choose us:

I have never meant for this to be a blog about NOLA and Hurricane Katrina but I have done quite a few posts on that. And just when I think it will be my last there is another story that pulls me back in to it again. There has been just such complete devastation and such horror that it is beyond compelling. It reaches my humanity to the core and I feel such empathy for victims and survivors. I wonder what would I have done in their place? How would I cope in the aftermath?

An ex-boss of mine used to say, when hiring reporters, you could teach them AP style and you could teach them mechanics and jargon and deadlines but you couldn’t teach them to want the story, to see what needs to be told and to positively, physically hunger to tell it. They either do or they don’t.

Scout wants the story.

Use the link. Help her get it.