Yesterday, I sat with a dozen other travel writers, in a hip Melrose eatery, as we introduced ourselves, one by one, to share our credentials and current projects during a media lunch hosted by the San Juan Marriott (I mention them because I am a fan of San Juan, Puerto Rico and the Marriott.
As the chatter went around the room, the subject of blogging came up. One of the writer’s took the opportunity to express his disdain about blogging and bloggers, “…bloggers don’t know what they are talking about,” and went on to describe his traditional journalism background and old school ethics as being more important and reliable than people who blog. He then finished by saying, “I write articles!” I thought the guy was a self-important idiot, but it was not the first time I had heard these sentiments about blogging, especially from “old school” writers.
While I agree to an extent, Internet writing still has a ways to go before being taken more seriously – at least by traditional journalism types. There is no denying, blogging is unlikely to be going away any time soon and has already made a huge impact as highly immediate, topical and interactive writing. Personally, I wanted to defend blogging as a new form that will take time to develop, and many bloggers are strong, relevant writers already. Before I had a chance to mount my argument that would have disintegrated into name-calling, a handful of the other writers just booed him.
While I am pretty certain his shot at bloggers was intended to boost his ego or put down others, I actually felt a little sad for him. The Internet has changed publishing and how information gets shared, which is good – and bad to folks who prefer one system to another. This means that traditional magazine writers and journalists have to play catch up or get left behind. There are fewer and fewer avenues for longer feature stories in paper magazines – there are fewer paper magazines, period. We, as a society, are devouring more snappy headlines than multiple pages of thoughtful prose. So some traditional writers have had to jump in and start learning about keyword optimization and writing shorter articles geared toward a rapidly changing readership.
Some of us at the media lunch felt comfortable diving into the uncharted Internet waters years ago. Others waited and now sound like a droopy sack of sour grapes looking to take a shot at the new bloggers on the block. Next week, I will offer a few thoughts to consider before transitioning from magazine writer to Internet blogger without losing journalism while blogging. The truth is that writing will remain writing. Blogging is only a form of writing worth learning for a changing climate with little room for sour grapes.