Covid-19 Indy Week VII: Open Indiana

Some people just aren’t sure how to take me. There’s a lot to unpack with the name “Indianapolis Skateboard Journalist.” The Indianapolis part seems easy enough. I’m on a skateboard most of the time, so that’s pretty self explanatory. But what about that journalism part?

Enjoying some fresh air catching some shots while the protest winds down

My origins in journalism go back to my high school news paper, the RSVP (Responsive Student Voice of Plainfield), but not in reporting. I was a cartoonist. But even back then, I spent more time skateboarding than I did making cartoons for the school newspaper.

WISH TV working the protest

I never studied journalism, but in my college days, I worked as a reporter for the Hendricks County Flyer. My editor back then was Tim Evans who’s currently with the Indianapolis Star. That’s the same Tim Evans who broke the USA Gymnastics story about the infamous doctor and molester, Larry Nassar. While at the Flyer, I covered local politics, Avon’s first police officer being inducted, Rails to Trails, and wrote movie reviews for classics like “Mortal Kombat,” but I never got too deep or investigative.

Here I am, twenty-something years later, just now starting to dive a little deeper. All it took was two bouts of cancer, four years of rolling around all over town videoing with various cameras, and a pandemic to make the pivot from casual observer to serious journalist.

Motorcyclist on the Circle raises a power first

As I share my opinion based on my observations and research, I inevitably seem to piss people off as journalists often do. The most outrage I’ve experienced so far occurred over a piece I wrote on my website to compliment a video I made of protesters at the Governor’s mansion a few weeks back. Some of the protesters seemed to think I hadn’t given them a fair shake while some on the other side thought that I had been too forgiving. So far, I have’t been able to find a single protester who’s been sick, but a lot of people still think they killed someone’s grandma.

Skaters getting some video clips over at Pan AM

One of the primary goals I’ve had while making my skateboard journalism videos is to give everyone a voice without editing them to appear worse than what any examination of my raw video would show. This goes for anyone.

Clarence and his friend enjoying some outdoor social distancing on the Circle

Having made almost 200 videos covering a wide range of people, groups, zealots, and protesters, not everything I cover appeals to all people. In fact, what I’m finding is that many people want to silence others from having an opportunity to express their views.

Costumed protesters having a good time not social distancing

In my latest video, I took time to talk to the founder of the Open Indiana movement and gave him a chance to express his views. Although they may be unpopular with many, I see the movement starting to gain steam as the weariness of staying at home begins to set in and people face financial ruin and homelessness.

Andy Lyons offers up the chicken wing after I refuse to shake hands

While I’m not so sure where the point of diminishing return is on stay-at-home policies, most of the people who came out to the protest would tell me that doesn’t matter. Instead, they would argue that the Governor crossed the line when his first stay-at-home order was issued.

Man handing out flyers at the protest with links to a site that looks like an uncensored YouTube

I’m only one man with limited time and resources who’s trying to share what’s going on in Indianapolis as honestly as my eyes see it every day. I wish I could do more, but even more so, I look for the day when there’s a skateboard journalist in every city in the world sharing what they encounter first hand without the constructs of a stale, worn out, completely manufactured, corporate news narrative.

He landed it

Until next time, going deeper.