The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper Read Online (FREE)
Read The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper online free here.
At home, I’m invisible. At school, I’m bizarre. But to the rest of the world, I’m a journalist.
I get this specific feeling—a tug in my gut, a hitch in my breath—every time I craft a news story, open the FlashFame app, and broadcast live to my 435,000 followers.
When I step off the Q train at the Times Square stop and shoulder my way to the exit, I take a moment to collect my thoughts. I pull in a hearty breath and smile. Holding the phone in front of my face, I go over the plan in my head for my weekly New York City update. What to cover, where to walk.
“Hiya!” I shout into the phone and smirk as the commuters behind me dash out of view. “I’m Cal, and welcome to my weekend update. New York’s been slow on the news front—murders and Amber Alerts, all normal stuff—but in national news, one thing is a standout: the search for the twentieth and final astronaut to be added to the Orpheus project.”
In the front-facing camera, I see the city scroll by in a mass of billboards, shops, cabs, and bikes. I try not to show the strain in my smile, and remind myself that even the most seasoned reporters have to report on what their viewers want to hear most. And according to my comments, there’s no contest: people want to know the latest. It’s not like I’m surprised—it’s all anyone can talk about right now. Six humans will be setting foot on Mars, and it’s ignited an interest the space program hasn’t seen in decades.
“The astronaut in question will be chosen in the coming weeks, after which they will relocate to Houston to vie for a spot on the Orpheus V spacecraft, the first crewed mission to Mars.”
If this performance doesn’t win me an Emmy, I will throw a fit. You ever tell someone you’re overjoyed by something, when secretly you’d rather vomit in a bucket than talk about it anymore? That’s me with the Mars missions. I hate the hype.
However, people are so wrapped up in the drama around this Mars mission, you’d think it was the latest Real Housewives installment. Therein lies my dilemma: Do I want to report on things people care about? Yes. Do I want more followers and viewers? Also yes.
“A representative of StarWatch spoke about the search today,” I continue, “but the cable gossip network didn’t offer any new information about the candidates.”
After my brief, obligatory NASA report, I bring the stream back to New York City by offering recommendations for the biggest events of the weekend: parties, farmers’ markets, and everything in between. All while watching the live viewer count climb.
I’ve done local stories, national stories, worldwide stories before. I covered a full midterm election year, attending rallies for Senate and House candidates in the tristate area, even the severely inept ones who thought microwaves gave you cancer.