Two cupped hands gently and caringly holding various quotes from my stories' sources

Maybe you can't save them. But you can keep their stories safe.

To me, a story well told is about respect and healing.

Tanmoy Goswami
Am I a journalist or a storyteller? What is the difference? Why does it matter? I've been pondering these questions since being interviewed for a publication I admire a few months ago. Even as I took pains to argue why I don't look at Sanity as a 'journalistic' project anymore, the interviewer gently pointed out that the process I follow in my work is often exactly the same as a journalist's. I have to thank her for pushing me to address a question that is central to my work - and my relationship with you, my reader. One of the most powerful things about Sanity is that it allows me to be transparent with you. Today's edition is a reaffirmation of that commitment.

PS: Next week I go on my first season break of the year. I know I know, I promised to take one every other month, but you know, insecurities, what will I do with myself if I don't write, etc etc 😩. But yes, I've been working nonstop since January, so for the next few weeks I won't publish any fresh pieces, though you will receive a few Sanity Classics from time to time. What will I be up to? It's the kid's summer vacation, and I'm (not) looking forward to a trip to the burning plains of India leaving behind our mountain haven. Wish me well.

PPS: What can you expect next season? Here are some WIP pieces in my drafts folder that I'm excited about: Do bigots deserve therapy? The difficulty of coming out as disabled. And a manifesto for men's mental health. Meanwhile, please share Sanity with your friends. It really helps me to get up and do this work every day.

See you in a wee. Stay hydrated. - Tanmoy

"Thank you for always being so thoughtful and sensitive with my story."

- A 'source' I spoke to for a piece on surviving grief

Earlier this year, Inbox Collective, a publication I am a fan of, interviewed me on my journey with Sanity. When Claire Zulkey, the platform's managing editor, asked me how I define my identity in the context of my work here, I immediately said 'not as a journalist'. I mouthed something snarky about the journalism industry's ongoing decay and the public's declining trust in the media. Claire heard me out, smiled kindly, and said something like: "Well, you research topics, analyse data, speak to people, and synthesise your findings for lay readers. [She could have added that I even attended a fellowship at one of the high temples of journalism.] That sounds a lot like a journalist to me."

Her assessment stumped me. But I think I am now ready to explain why I increasingly see myself as a non-journalist:

A journalist's first loyalty is to the story they want to write. My first loyalty is to you and your story.

Full disclosure: I likely started forming this position due as much to my own limitations as to any altruistic impulse. Over my dozen years in journalism before starting Sanity, I got to work with colleagues who had ambitions of, and were capable of, writing to save the world. They used their words as scythes against injustice and unfairness wherever they saw it. I didn't have their strength and so chose a different mission: If I couldn't save the world, I would at least try to make sure that the stories I was trusted with were safe with me.

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