Veteran TV producer and activist Ron Scott has blogged recently about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (her strange and perplexing world), about GM Chairman Rick Wagoner (his tough love prescription for the company noticeably fails to include a salary cut for himself) and about the firing of loser Lions coach Steve Mariucci (reminding readers of the strong black candidates who werent even interviewed when Mariucci got his gig 2003).
What Scott hasnt written about yet is the early morning fire that tore through the antique-crammed paint store of Detroit gadfly Chuck Costa. Along with the memorabilia of Costas three mayoral campaigns and other artifacts at the Grand River Avenue store, the Nov. 21 fire consumed an upper loft that was home to Scott and housed everything he owned.
Its still, Scott says, too raw, too upsetting to write about. Scott physically escaped the fire with about five minutes to spare; emotionally, hes still in the throes of it. I havent been able to sleep well; more than a couple of hours of sleep, I just cant do it, says Scott, who is living with a friend. Meanwhile, adding to his posts at the Detroit News Web site, he says, has given me a certain level of normalcy.
When he does write about his experience, Scott says hell probably address the lack of city services to help those with post-fire needs, the frustrations of getting information about arson investigations and the like. In other words, Scott will use his experiences fighting for the cause of police brutality victims and others; hell just happen to be the writer and subject.
Scott is one of a dozen or so political bloggers that the Detroit News currently presents; they range across the political spectrum and include News editorial writer George Bullard. Scott joined their ranks after a News reporter he happened to be talking to mentioned that blog contributors were being sought; Scott applied and has posted entries since July.
Although hes written a couple of times about police brutality the cause hes most identified with hes made a conscious attempt to show the breadth of his concerns. I have a ton of writing inside of me that Ive gotten out, he says, explaining the attraction of the unpaid blog forum.
From Scotts perspective, mainstream papers are in a fix: Theyre losing market share; theyre losing credibility; theyre losing journalistic excellence. And to state the obvious, he adds, the News is seen as leaning to the right, not necessarily in touch with the city. With bloggers, the paper is expanding the views presented and trying to engage readers. And the blogosphere, in general, Scott says, is generating excitement: People are beginning to read again in a different way.
Maybe its a good thing that were not being paid, he says. Were not limited or controlled by virtue of whether were going to lose our jobs. Its almost pure journalism, almost back to one of my heroes, Tom Paine. Were people imparting common sense as we see it.
Hes seen the reach of his blogging a number of ways, from feedback provided by politically active black Detroiters to an invitation to join an anti-war rally put on by Rochester activists.
But he was particularly touched by a thumbs-up response from a 17-year-old white kid in Sterling Heights: That hes ethnically and geographically in a different space than I am and that he can appreciate the difference of opinion gave me some hope for the future.
A benefit for Ron Scott is set for 7-11 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17, at the Art Exchange, 2966 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-963-8116 or [email protected].Send comments to [email protected]