The Writers Basement: Artists and a Cafe



The UnConventional Advocate Journalist


Name: Toussaint Du Bois. aka liberation poet

Age: 26

Profession:  Aspiring Architect/ Revolutionist/Writer


        This interview actually came about from a discussion we were having, one of the many political discussions, and  felt he was a great candidate to interview; especially because he volunteers at the Commerator of The Black Panther Party in Berkeley, Ca. He writes and edits for their Newsprint.

Me: so, the basic boring stuff; age? where were you born?  

  Toussaint: Septemeber 7th, 1984; Detroit, Michigan

MeWould you considery ourself to be  traditional Journalist?

  Toussaint: well, to be honest I wouldn’t consider myself a journalist at all. 
Me: well that would conclude this interview. *laughs* well, okay to me, i consider you a journalist because of the work you do at the Commerator. you write for their newspaper right?
Toussaint: correct. well actually, I have been working there for the past 6 months and I really am proud of what I have accomplished so far. what I mainly do for the newspaper, however is mainly cover stories that affect out community and support the cause the Black Panther Party supports and some of my interest as well.
Me: so how do you gather the information for your stories?
Toussaint: I look to other journals. cite resources and references, Interviews with various people, for instance, the guy you met here, Melvin dickson or Elaine Brown.
Me: so why don’t you consider yourself a journalist?
Toussaint: well, a traditional journalist, no; I did’nt go to school for it so I don’t consider myself a hardcore journalist.
Me: So, for clarification purposes, i consider you to be a journalist because you perform a public service for you community; a moral that most journalist have failed to strictly uphold. through social media,You inform and uplift your community through your writing and bringing under-reported strories of struggle to light. speaking of social media, how do you think the various tools of sociai just media can be used to promote your message?
Toussaint: well with the current state of society and media, i say it doesnt; present the facts and the story will reveal itself. The mainstream media filters and spins the news and facts. They also don’t cover stories that are of dire importance to the consciousness of our communities; for example the Georgia prison strike or the death of Raheem Brown. both were not reported in the mainstream news, and much of the public are unaware of these incidents even occurring.
Me: so if you could use the tools, how would you use them?
Toussaint: well, in the positive aspect, social media makes it so easy to assemble and reach a mass amount of people. Its like centralized access; like the event page on Facebook. hundreds of people can view that within a day. its amazing.
Me: with the progression of such modern technology, where do you see the future of newspaper?the Commerator newspaper?
Toussaint: for the commerator, we are entering a monthly division phase—- also we use the newspaper as an organizing tool; i think the newspaper is dynamic in creating enthusiasm and passion for anything one wants to write about.


So Many questions, And all the Unnecessary Answers.

For this weeks assignments, i didn’t even need to post a questions and then log my experience; I do this everyday. My main websites that I call “jumpoffs” (hahahaha, oh no, not the meaning in the hip-hop/rap world); are websites or ask engines, I use for a foundation or directional tool on a particular subject  or news, that i later investigate further . The two main websites I visit are Wikipedia and yahoo answers. and oh man the comedy and interesting things i find on there. My most recent search, was more of a personal one and was one that dealt with astrological compatibility… and from a now renowned expert on this fascinating  science, the answers i received where …. unique to say the least.

I recently got into a debate about the validity of Wikipedia and other Q&A engines, and my perspective is very simple; Like all investigative research, follow the Alma mater  “Do your research. Thoroughly.” Don’t ever just take any answer, or even the most reputable source as the final say; ALWAYS  fact check and  cross-reference from as many places as possible. I always strive to do objective research as a subjective journalist and  feel most should strive to approach, at least when finding answers to something you deem is important, as a scientists and always keep testing, for no mans’ one word is law; just all theory and mostly speculation. Till next type…

Do you have a Blimple?

Blimple n. A blog pimple that  needs to be pop; an annoying blemish on the English language; blogs that are filled with dirt and unnecessary pus that raise to the surface of the internet  networking interface.

Many of us have seen and even had a blimple; most just put a band-aid over it ( cool graphics and background music) or most even attempt to pop it; some are successful and no scars are left behind, while others are still left with the blemish and reminder of poor writing. That’s what I see when I go online and see thousands of blogs. Blimples.

But there is some hope; LinkedIn groups have, luckily, offered me a way to read real writers blog; and  some of intrinsic quality too. I love independent writers and even professional mainstream writers. From the novice who adds just enough jazz to his/her literary and social commentary, to the 40+ somethings who have a lot of wisdom to share, I am glad I have found an outlet that  represents the other side of the blogosphere.

This weeks post was a topic I think everyone has struggled with: What does one write about in a Blog? this question posted by Jodi Milner on the Writers Cafe group. below is her post:

“Looking for some great writing blogs to add to my blog roll, who else here blogs?

I blog at http://myliteraryquest.wordpress.comand am always looking for other great blogs to feature. If you are looking to increase your exposure or just your page hits, let me know. I’m currently looking for writers to interview or interesting posts from guest bloggers. …”

I visited her blogsite and was glad it WAS NOT  a blimple; in fact i enjoyed reading her blogs, especially her piece on one of my favorite authors,  Dr. Seuss.  In the end, after reading through the comments and even posting some of my own, I believe the decision to do a blog should be  based on a balance of personal doctrines and witty observations, with the professional undertone and journalistic responsibility to Enlighten, Educate, Inspire and Entertain. till’ next type…..

So in Movies, will we see spinning computers with headlines now?

hmmm.. Linkedin just launced a news hub/portal website that is powered by twitter and of course, linkedIn, called LinkedIn Today. I want to hire their marketing team… \

anywho, still doing my curious browsing and seeing if its is another vaulable tool to add to my box of  treausres… till’ next type

or at least with  this topic, till i find something interesting…

In The Writers Basement: Interviews with Jena Perry

This weeks Q&A comes from the website of my class focus which is The question i posted is:

 Why do you think it is so hard for people to find their career calling or perosnal path? Which one of these imapcts our decision making the most: culture, family background, Society?

The response that  engaged me the most came from Taiese Nevels from Texas. He is a Lean Improvement Engineer at GE Vetco Gray. He stated that:

They all play an integral part in why people struggle with finding their calling either in a career or personal. A person’s culture may sway them not to explore or dream bigger than where they are or even more caustic is the cultural expectation for the person. When you are looking at the hardship of finding a calling the foundation rests on the family background, in the instance of understanding the working of the person’s mindset. How can you find a calling if you are too deeply planted on the family background? Most people stay where they are comfortable reducing the level of exposure to challenging situations which may press them to be directed in the lane of finding their calling. In regards to society, it always plays a good hand in limiting the perceived ability of the person to pursue bigger dreams and goals, that could eventually lead to finding the calling in career or personal. All these factors, play equal roles that impact why it’s so difficult for people to find their career calling or personal path. You only live once so, step outside your comfort zone to stretch yourself, learn something new or just be exposed to various productive successful people. One last note, most people don’t spend enough time with themselves to understand who they are, what their passions are or what really drives them to begin to find their career calling or personal path.” 

As a 24-year-old suffering through a mid-life crisis, this answer resonated with me, because it actually helped me understand why it is so hard for 20 somethings like me to find their place in this country. there are so many opportunities yet we have family and cultural obligations that can either hold us back or act as a navigator on which path we decide to take. I figure, we know the destination; its more so of finding the best path to take. As a single parent, the last sentence in his statement really hits home, because time to myself is so scarce and i know if i had more time to just sit and organize my life goals, my GPS would have been found the fastest route already. The other responses were also equally accurate and they all had a universal message: people need to take the time to find and develop their passions in life. MORE ARE MORE THAN WELCOMED TO COMMENT!!!! till’ next type…



The Morning After: A journal, A Night stand, and refreshing Perspective

After our initial passionate meeting, LinkedIn and I, entangled ourselves in self discovery and found out more about each other than originally expected. One question still came to this aspiring journalist’s mind: how do you benefit ME LinkedIn? she simply closed her eyes, open her world and I explored her social realms, still to this is new to me…

Apart from the dramatic poetic description that chronicles my experience my frustrations and accomplishments with LinkedIn, many have come to praise the benefits that LinkedIn has to offer journalists; even those who may not feel quite  comfortable yet, with joining the social media race.

In journalism and investigative reporting, networking and reporting resources are vital foundations. Not only for building a quality story, but also for the reputation of the journalist. LinkedIn can offer a way to not only diversify ones professional profile, it allows the journalist to add a certain individuality. LinkedIn makes it somewhat easier for one to answer the question of “what makes you different?”

I believe the public service that journalists provide, LinkedIn can help; with LinkedIn resources, journalists expand on topics and issues that affect a featured person on linked in, community organization or stories that are under reported. LinkedIn, to me, organizes information in way that journalists can use efficiently and accurately.

The Cool Kids Revolution: How Much internet is too Much?

I recently read this article that discuseed the cultural and mental impact the interent era has on teenage kids. I must say that i choose this topic to blog about, mainly because, i grew up in the begining of the online era and am still young enough, but old enough, to see how its evolve and the negative side effects it has on my younger peers. As a parent, it also gives me a glimpse to what my daughter will be exposed to 9-10 years into the future and how I can preserve the precious traditions of good-ole fashion human interaction and reading books. I welcome all to watch this video   and here others oinion and expereince of “Growing Up online.”

As I watching this documentary, I began to worry;  quality education is  becoming a luxury for the elite. The more the teenage culture is exposed to a constant influx of media and advertisements, their critical thinking skills are at risk of fading away when they become adults. How can we expect them to make well-rounded, educated decisons, see through the smoke of greedy corporations and be politically aware of their nation and world issues, if they can’t pay attention for more  than 5 mins? what happens when reading a book or newspaper is something foreign and unrecognizable? We are raising a generation of instant stupidity; where the digital representation is more interesting the person it is representing.

The debate of technology vs. education and the instructors who struggle to find a balance, is one that will define how we teach our future generations. I cannot be completely harsh on criticizing teens and the internet; I had a MySpace, Facebook, account, yet I experience the flaws and positives of being socially active , via the internet. But the key is balance and discipline. We all can’t play Farmville for hours on end and then wonder why we keep seeing chickens in our bathrooms….. ’til next type.

I am No longer a Virgin:One night Stand or LinkedIn for the long haul?

When I was first introduced to the LinkedIn website, boring came to mind;  then curiosity and then finally, like American/European history, exploitation. Like many novice social media participants, I didn’t know such websites existed. So when I  inquired about it to my fellow peers, I was surprised to find out that they knew about LinkedIn and even had a profile on the LinkedIn, but rarely used the site.

This prompted my typical Sagittarius tactless response, ” so why the hell did you create one?” Luckily David Wells, author of a blog titled  “How to leverage LinkedIn to Market Your Business, candidly pointed out that “…people set up their profile and let it sit for months and didn’t do anything with it or reach out and connect with other like minded people on the network.”  still my logic is baffled. why do so many of my friends like to waste time and then complain about not being able to find a job?

Any-who,  He went on to explain that “the same principles of real life networking also apply on LinkedIn. If you were to go to a networking event and not talk with anyone, do you think you would built any relationships or potential business leads? ” I completely concur with both statements. I think people get the idea that these social websites should do the job for them, only because it allows to network on a mass scale quicker and instantly. But regardless, in any field or project you pursue, plain ole hard work will always be required and preferred. I mean if we allowed machines to do everything for us, what would be the point of human existence?

So far my  experience has been pleasant with LinkedIn. Once viewed as just another task to complete for a class, I see a plethora of resources at my fingertips and a great way to promote my website. Plus, the awkward morning after, wasn’t that awkward,; in fact LinkedIn invited me to come back for more 🙂 and even wanted me to invest “100%”. I think she really likes me. The new found disdain for the internet and the various  social remedial web-spawns  has subsided…. for now. Till Next Type……..

Journalists: Evolving with Journalism IS evolving with society.{Jena perry, Journ 65}

I believe that being a Journalist entails more than just reporting or being a social commenter; Journalists are social activists, creative writers, Political analysts, Sociologists and Psychologists. In this century of technology, a new guild is now added to this career choice: Media Socialite. Its more than needing to understand how to use social media; one has to master, bring originality and the same standards of accuracy and integrity that is the foundation for quality journalism.  Instead of being intimidated by twitter or Facebook or the many blogging websites, maximize these tools as much as possible. Networking is highly important in the journalistic field; therefore its very immature to believe that social media is not going to hand in hand with networking. Some may even argue, that is the reason why these sites were created. I just say, Social media is just another arsenal added to my mental weaponry. The journalist who is able to master this social media evolution is the one that holds the most power. Until next type….

Social Media changing the World? or is American Social Media changing the world?

The reason why I have phrased the above questions as so, is because, we as Americans and many other Western Countries, measure what journalism and social media is by the tools we use in our own country and not in a universal or secular perspective. As I am reading many of my classmates blogs and developing my own opinion of journalism as a whole, I have realized that in western countries, where freedom of press is more prevalent, the tools of social media we use can set the stage for other countries and how to use  different methods of reporting and releasing news.

For example,  a classmate, Billy Rivera, posted an interesting article about microblogging in china. In china, where face book is banned, they have created websites like face book, such as, that is almost identical to face book. It’s not a statement of ego boosting, but more just observation;  Other countries can influence how other countries use social media. Even in Ghana, how the presence of Google is trying to make a permanent home, its is trying to provide  a new way for the  people of that country to be able to look up news and other valuable information. Western companies are slowly influencing  social media across the world.

I know that my opinion will be more refined once I complete more research, hear opposing viewpoints, and grow as an aspiring journalist; however, in the meantime, I feel that this thesis has some merit because of such current events that showed how dependent western countries are on monopolizing news media outlets. For example, the most popular of them all, is the revolution happening in Libya, Egypt. When their government decided to cut off the ability for news to be passed through the common social media outlets to teh outside world or companies like the associated press, the rest of the world turn to a lowly, and once viewed a terrorist-news reporting agency ( “al- jazeerah”), for the update on events happening in that country. For once, in a very long time, a small, independent news organization was able to control the “news” given to the world. In addition, one of the only outside reporters, used twitter to keep updates on the events. I guarantee that the al- jazeera website and viral videos on that website was the most viewed in their history of existence.

But looking at this specific example, would the world have been able to know what had happened if it wasn’t for social media websites? many of the activists who were able to update their face book gave another perspective into the revolutions and emotion of these protests.  In the United states, a reporter for  reported an article/blog on how the news outlets were inaccurately portraying the protests to Governor Walkers radical attempt to fix the state’s budget. With the efficiency of the internet and the love childs it has spawned, social media isn’t necessarily changing the  world of social media; just speeding up how it is received to the masses. It is because of this variable, instant information, that the news world is changing; or in my eyes trying to keep up. I think its how the public accepts or responds to how news is released through social media that controls the evolution of news, not necessarily the tools themselves. After all, if we all choose to go back to newspapers,  the question of how social media is changing the world wouldn’t even exist. Until next type…….