♣ It’s Been A Long Time… ♣
“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.”
— Abraham Lincoln
DETROIT (JSC) — Prior to starting this, I looked at the time stamp of the last post I put up on this site. Obviously, it has been a minute since I’ve been here, but it’s not because I’ve just given up on the whole blogging game. If you have even bothered to read the “About” section of this thing — and judging from the number of hits that page has gotten, you clearly haven’t — I said very clearly that “this blog will be my outlet to write in lieu of me having a regular full-time gig.” Well, in August, that dream was realized as I became a contributor to theGrio.com, which is NBC’s African-American news site. The story of how this whole thing came together is forthcoming, but I finally had a second to address what will be the future of this site. This was my original outlet. My true baby. I’ve been blogging like a mad man since 2003 on Xanga, when I was the furthest thing from being a professional journalist. For the chosen few of you who pay regular attention to this blog, I thank you. Let’s go on a journey back to the last day I hit you with some bloggage: July 12. Let’s Go.
It was a hot, 90+ degree afternoon in the middle of the summer. At that point, I was a couple of weeks away from a trip that would serve to to change my life. As you all know, I’m a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. I have been for years. A year prior, I hopped on a plane for the first time in 14 years to go to the 2010 NABJ National Conference in San Diego. That conference opened my eyes to what it was like to be a professional journalist amongst my peers and it very quickly inspired me to step my damn game up. When I came back to Detroit, it was with a renewed energy and aggression that I hadn’t felt since I first started at 96.5 seven years ago. I went back to Wayne State, took over as sports editor of the South End, covered what was (at the time) the best football team in school history, then on two days rest picked up covering the Men’s basketball team as they made an astonishing run to a conference championship. Along the way, I ended up taking over the Women’s beat as well as trying to balance all that with finishing my Master’s Degree and trying to stay afloat financially. Mind you, this was all before July 12.
By the time July had rolled around, I was 3 months removed from school and had zero real possibilities. The Detroit News had essentially laid me off and I wasn’t even able to get unemployment at the time. Basically, I was skating on thin ice, flying with broken wings, and rollin’ with trick dice. I was down to selling stuff and scrounging up change to keep the lights on. So on that hot July day, I was blogging to keep from robbing somebody. The trip to Philadelphia for NABJ 2011 had been paid for months earlier, but essentially that was it. I was very reflective of my future at the time. The NABJ conference would essentially be my last stand. If I couldn’t find something resembling a real gig, I was basically done. Toward the end of July, I was introduced to Sam Logan, the legendary publisher and editor-in-chief of the Michigan Chronicle, and had started freelancing for the paper. Even with that I still needed something more concrete, and my potential for journalistic salvation was in sitting in a convention hall in Philadelphia.
By the time August 3 rolled around, I was on a flight from Motown to Philly and I was trying to do more than an East Coast Swing. I arrived with a purpose: Find a Job and Start Your Journey. Well, after getting in and registering, I spent that first night basically getting situated and planning my attack for the following three days. On the first day of the conference, Thursday August 4, I went to the career fair and made a contact that was very familiar. The year before in San Diego, I came into contact with David Wilson from the Grio. At that time, Grio had just come under the NBC umbrella and they were building a staff. I had just finished my second year at Wayne State and had nothing tangible to show them other than a few crappy (by my standards) basketball stories. Fast forward to Philadelphia, I see David again. This time I’m armed with a year’s worth of my best work and an updated resume.
He takes a look at the portfolio at says to me with a quizzical look “You’re not working for anyone full time?” My response: “Nope”. After asking me a couple of more times, he tells me to talk to Joy-Ann Reid (the managing editor). A couple of hours later, I caught up to her, she read my portfolio, and after asking me what my focus would be — i.e. am I specifically doing sports or willing to be flexible — she follows up with the same question: “You’re not working for anyone full time?” My response: o_o…”ummm…nope.” The ball had started rolling.
The following day, I found my way into a seminar run by MSNBC’s vice-president. I managed to get a few words with Yvette Miley — the MSNBC VP — and after 11 years, suddenly the door started cracking open. The network was going to be in Detroit the following week for a televised town hall on education (I actually made a few cameos in it from the crowd) and I decided to volunteer my services to the Grio to cover it. I apparently made enough of an impression on them because 2 days after I got back to Detroit, the tax forms and agreement was in my e-mail.
After doing four separate stories through the month of August (as well as my first Chronicle story), on September 8 — three days after my after my 32nd birthday — I got an e-mail from Joy saying they were interested in bringing me on as a full blown contributor, covering everything from human interest to politics to sports to whatever in the Midwest. I would be based out of Detroit and get paid. I remember sitting in the Michigan Chronicle parking lot on Cass screaming like a linebacker after sacking a quarterback. In essentially six weeks, I went from being on my last legs to kicking in the door that had been closed for so long.
You all who follow me know the rest. I’ve covered stories in various places. Whether it’s covering a controversial job fair here in Detroit, a touching memorial to victims of gun violence in Chicago, Ndamukong Suh getting a little too angry on Thanksgiving Day, to covering good ol’ Detroit City Government. I have finally discovered my calling and I love what I do. The goal for 2012, because I don’t make “resolutions,” is to grow from where I am now and move onward and upward. I’m in a great place right now, but it can always get better. I work with people who respect the hell out of what I do, take care of me on my money (!!!), and give me the leeway to do what I want to do. Plus, I get to travel and I love that. By the time I get to New Orleans for this year’s NABJ convention in June, there will be a new feeling: That of being an experienced professional.
This brings us back to the entire point of this friggin’ blog. What is the future of Jay Scott Confidential? Simple. I will continue to blog on JSC. Obviously, I won’t be able to blog nearly as frequently as I have in the past nine years in the multiple incarnations of this blog. However, when I bring it, it will be with the same vigor and vitriol that I’ve done it with since 2003. Hell, I’ve got something for that ass in the next couple of days about a subject that just gets on my damn nerves: Our rampant preoccupation with “Haters”. But that’s for next time.
For now, I want to leave you cats & kittens with this message: No matter what you want to do in life, work your ever-loving ass off to get it. It took me 12 years of ups and downs to get to this point, but through hard work, the support of loved ones, and a faith in God that (while I don’t beat people over the head with it) kept me somewhat sane through everything. Click here to check out all my Grio work and be sure to support the site as well. Thank you again for your support and let’s continue to build in 2012. Well, you know, until the Mayans shut everything down in December.
:::Strikes The Randy Orton Pose::: Peace Out and Happy New Year!
Until Next Time, That’s The Way It Is. Tuesday, January 3, 2012.
The 4,379th day since the Detroit Lions’ Last Playoff Game (A Streak that ends in New Orleans on Saturday)
Take Care, God Bless, Always Dare to Be Different, and G.O.M.A.B. Σ
P.S.: R.I.P. Samuel Logan (1936-2011). This man gave me a chance when nobody else was seriously f—ing with me and once paid me out of his own pocket for a story. The man was a visionary and a free-thinker in a world living inside the proverbial box.