I have always felt that artists and journalists at some point in time crossed stars to become one in the same. Whether this be through striking piano keys, billowing paint on a canvas, or breaking down on a theater stage, there is something reflective in the way artists take emotions and the pieces of their world and project them to audiences as something whole and new – as do journalists.
The same empathy that creates an artist drives a journalist. As they write and photograph, they fall so personally into the parts of the people they meet that they have hidden inside themselves, drawing subjects out of their retreat and bringing the small pieces of the world they’ve found into clearer focus. This empathy is no accident. You do your work and learn, and as time goes on you allow yourself to be challenged to tell the stories that many are too afraid to tell, until one day you open your eyes to find yourself tearing up alongside a subject who has told you their struggles. That day you feel yourself succumb to the real heart of the story, you are an artist – you are a journalist.
Sure, the job of a journalist can be uplifting, and exciting, and can even mean playing a game of hardball sometimes. No matter what it is, the role of an empathetic journalist is not easy.
This issue of Ethos, compassion and energy illuminates every page. It is felt in the electricity of Eugene’s house show culture in our piece “The Band Played On,” or the weight of heartbreak in our story on the first Syrian refugee family to arrive to our community in “A Refugee’s Journey Across Seas.” It is a feeling of thoughtfulness for a local woman’s life in the story “Striking a Chord,” and the understanding of overwhelming international tension in the whole Ethos World section.
Compassion and comprehension of our world in a way we may have a tendency to overlook embody this issue of Ethos. The winter issue serves as a means to escape at times into things that are cold and tough to read, and on the very next page it serves to give us hope. Which, to me is not too far off from what we know as art.
I think we could all use a little more of these things: a little more empathy, a little more escapism, a little more art, and a lot more Ethos.