Arriving at a Fixed Destination

Hank Stuever is all about fixed destinations.

His words from last evening’s New Mexico Press Women’s 60th anniversary Conference and Communications Awards Banquet have reached their fixed destination on this blog. I hope it’s a fitting destination.

Hank, an award-winning pop culture writer for the Washington Post’s Style section and a former newspaper reporter from Albuquerque noted that books, newspapers and movies at the theater are all fixed destinations and that these are “the things we are on the precipice of losing.”

He regaled the audience with stories from his early career in Albuquerque, fondly recalling chain link fences and cinder blocks. “I don’t know why I ever left,” he said drawing laughter from the audience.

But for him, “The more faded it gets the more beautiful it gets.”

He shared his love for storytelling and his need to share the stories of life, many of which are captured in his books, Off Ramp and Tinsel. “That’s the most important thing we do as media professionals – we tell one another’s stories,” he said.

And that’s the problem with new media, Hank says. “Now we’re too busy telling ‘my’ story.”

He recalled a time at a campground where he and a photographer stayed for three days. Some Europeans asked him in a broken accent, “Who it is you are all the time with cameras writing down things.”

It was an apt question for a man who has a need to observe and get it down on paper.

And while Hank might bemoan the loss of record stores, newspapers or going to the movies, he’s not writing off new media. “We’re undergoing a Renaissance,” he said. “And we need to stop taking the Renaissance so personally.”

His advice for the new media? Leave a fresco – “some really lovely painting, some really good work.”

What will your fresco be?

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