Tuesday, November 09, 2010

In or out of the narrative

Marc Ambinder trades in blogging for The Atlantic to join the National Journal's White House team.  His final blog post had an interesting insight on the difference between reporting and blogging:

Really good print journalism is ego-free.  By that I do not mean that the writer has no skin in the game, or that the writer lacks a perspective, or even that the writer does not write from a perspective.  
What I mean is that the writer is able to let the story and the reporting process, to the highest possible extent, unfold without a reporter's insecurities or parochial concerns intervening. Blogging is an ego-intensive process. Even in straight news stories, the format always requires you to put yourself into narrative. You are expected to not only have a point of view and reveal it, but be confident that it is the correct point of view..

Read the entire blog post here


Sarah W said...

I like this line:

"I loved the freedom to write about whatever I wished, but I missed the discipline of learning to write about what needed to be written."

LTM said...

sigh. It's always refreshing when a fellow journalist in high position reminds us what we're *supposed* to be doing. :o) Thanks for reposting~

A3Writer said...

Thank you! I've been looking for a way to explain this idea to my students who think the only way to put a point of view into writing is with the dreaded first person. The concept of voice is completely lost on them.

Josin L. McQuein said...

You are expected to not only have a point of view and reveal it, but be confident that it is the correct point of view..

Yes. You are entitled to an opinion that is yours. You don't have (or get) to hide behind another entity, like a publication. The barrier between writer (blogger) and reader is gone - it's more conversation than information, even if there's information involved.

Joelle said...

Blogging is an ego-intensive process.

Oh! Oh! Oh! That is exactly why I've given up blogging regularly. I am sooooo tired of talking about myself. And you know, people love to talk about themselves, so if one gets tired of oneself, the rest of the world is already bored stiff!

Brenda B. said...

Thanks for linking to this article, Janet. The key point for me:

"A byline of course conveys authority and print journalists (and print journalists who write for the web and don't blog) have voices and identities. But they are not primarily known for their identities. They are primarily known for their work. And it's not work that flows predictability down one side of the mountain. It is a type of work that justifies itself because it tells you, the audience, something you did not know about something that is important."

Journalist bloggers are doing groundbreaking work, no question about it. But all opinion, all the time isn't likely to lead to an informed citizenry. Instead, our policies and politics will be driven by an opinionated mob. (Will be? Hmmmm.)

Glad to see Ambinder's out-loud ruminations about this. I'll bet there are others like him who are finding that journalistic blogging -- ostensibly less constrained than old-school reporting -- has its own set of uncomfortable conventions.


Brenda B. in Maine

Donna Hole said...

I don't know if I agree that a blogger has to always have an identifiable opinion on a subject. I follow a couple of bloggers - not nationally recognized journalists, of course - who bring up interesting subjects for discussion and rarely offer a subjective opinion.

But yes, I guess blogging is ego intensive, b/c you are writing on what intrgues you as a writer/person first and formost.

I'll have to think on this a bit. Thanks Janet for posting the article.


Anonymous said...

"...but be confident that it is the correct point of view..."

Isn't that an oxymoron? If it is a point of view, then it is subjective and there is no right or wrong.

And, I'm confident that I'm right about that! (LOL)

Steve Stubbs said...

Did you notice that Nathan Bransford also changed careers.

Janet Reid said...

yes indeed.

Michael Fowke said...

Nothing wrong with having an ego. All the best people have them.

Jan Markley said...

Good point. Blogging is a lot more personal, and you still need to make cogent points, inform and entertain. Did I just use the word 'cogent'?!