After my profile on Jackie Lee last week, both of us got a lot of feedback. When it was positive, it was fantastic because it affirmed that the Magic: The Gathering community is moving forward. When it was negative, it was fantastic because people were talking.
Most people sent me feedback on Twitter since that’s where I spend the majority of my waking hours, but I did get one encouraging email from a supporter who asked me to forward it to Jackie. When I sent it along, Jackie replied:
“It’s interesting, because even though the article is about me and I’ve gotten many responses like this, I continue to feel like it’s not about me at all! It’s really about a shared experience.”
It’s true. It’s a story that could resonate with anyone—not just other women or other Magic players—who’s ever felt unwelcome.
Just as Jackie’s story is a shared experience, in a different way, so was the one I wrote. As I said myself on Untapped Cast, I don’t keep up with the Magic community enough to be an authority. Instead, I relied on the knowledge of two guides, Bill Boulden (@ThaGatherin) and Chris Mascioli (@dieplstks), to suggest sources and offer two perspectives on the state of Magic today. Neither of them are quoted in the story, but their contributions are just as essential.
I mention Bill and Chris because I want to convey how much reporting goes into a story before it’s published. A reporter I admire once told me he only puts about 10 percent of his reporting into a story. (For me, I’d say it’s more like 25 percent for a profile like Jackie’s, but 50 percent or more for the three quick news stories I publish on the Daily Dot every day.) On a similar note, when I was a source for the Washington Post’s story on anime fans, I was a guide to Josh duLac, but not quoted.
One final insider note: I actually considered spiking this story. Not because Jackie’s story isn’t incredible, but because I was worried a story about a minority player in a somewhat obscure game wouldn’t resonate with a wider audience. Then, I worried that a story simplified for non-players would be too watered down to resonate with Magic players. Luckily, my editor urged me on, even though he wasn’t sure whether Magic was a card game, board game, or video game. Also luckily, I was wrong on both counts.
The reception of Jackie’s story has got me excited to write more about developments in other niche groups and fandoms. If you think I should write about a phenomenon in your community next, I’d love to hear about it.
Photo by Wizards of the Coast.