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Look at Blogs!

September 11, 2012 Leave a comment

I have to be honest, I’m not sure where to start after reading Look at Me! by Maureen Tkacik (also known as Moe Tkacik).

Let’s start with Jezebel.  I don’t know if any of you actively read Jezebel, but I’ve followed off and on since it launched in 2007.  (I mean, come on.  With a tag line of “Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for Women” how could you not follow the site?)  Anyways, I had never put much thought into the origins of the site, other than I knew it was related to Gizmodo (which is another good site).  I found Tkacik’s article very interesting because of the her ties to Jezebel.

One point that especially stood out to me was this bit from Tkacik on the subject of her blogs at Jezebel: “But the real revelation, to me at least, was that the readers who came for Faith Hill returned for posts about the Iranian insurgency, the foreclosure crisis, military contracting, campaign finance, corporate malfeasance, the global food crisis—essentially whatever I found outrageous or absurd or interesting on a given day.”

Tkacik goes on to say, “This enabled me to more honestly confront feminist pieties and hypocrisies, write more vividly and confidently, and perhaps even challenge the stereotypes about ‘women who write about shit that happened to them.'”

Andrew Sullivan (Tkacik even mentions Sullivan in her article) also gives an insight to blogging in his article, Why I Blog.  With tomorrow (or today depending on when I get this submitted) being September 11, it’s interesting to look at what Sullivan wrote regarding 9/11.  He says, “On my blog, my readers and I experienced 9/11 together, in real time. I can look back and see not just how I responded to the event, but how I responded to it at 3:47 that afternoon. And at 9:46 that night. There is a vividness to this immediacy that cannot be rivaled by print.”

Blogs offer so many different avenues than traditional print media.  No, not all blogs are journalistic in nature, but there are a lot that are journalistic.  Sullivan points out one of the greatest things about blogs is that the readers are instantly a part of the conversation with the author.  How many times have you picked up a newspaper and had immediate access to the reporter after reading the story?  I’d guess never.  And if you do want to “comment” you have to write a letter to the editor where it will be edited before publication.  Blogs aren’t like that.  You get to say what you want when you want.  It becomes personal (Sullivan likens the relationship between blogger and readers to a friendship).

More personal is more humanizing.  Tkacik makes an excellent point in regard to making journalism personal.  She says, “By humanizing journalism, we maybe can begin to develop a mutual trust between reader and writer that would benefit both.”

Tkacik was able to write about things close to her and form a “brand” without giving up too much of who she really was.  She saw the darker side of journalism where reporters cater to the advertisers and parent companies and let themselves become too absorbed in that world.  I agree with her statement about training journalists to use their own experiences to help share the news.  When we share news with friends and family, don’t we always incorporate some little personal tid bit?

Tkacik also admits the incorporation of experience and storytelling is “a lot easier to do with the creative liberties afforded by a blog…”

Blogs aren’t going anywhere.  They’re here to stay.  They’re here to skirt the line of pure information and opinion.  They’re here to engage conversation.  Sure, journalism still isn’t quite sure how to handle blogs, but I believe it’s getting a better idea of how they fit into the overall journalistic picture.

-MM

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