I talked with Eric Messinger, the editor of New York Family, a few days ago. I told him that I loved helping with New Parents Expo, but I was really interested in the journalistic side of the magazine. I'm happy to announce that he offered me internship working with the editors and writers! This is closer to the direction I want to be headed in my career. But first, a confession. Or is it totally obvious? I've never taken a journalism class in my life. I've taken a bunch of memoir/poetry/fiction writing classes (that's what my English degree focused on) and I loved them. Those classes certainly didn't hurt me, but I'm excited to learn how to distance my voice (just a little!) when writing reviews, interviews, and features without making it boring. These next four months will be a crash course in journalism and I couldn't be more excited!
First thing I did after my meeting with Eric was download a basic journalism how-to book onto my kindle iPhone app called Journalistic Writing: Building the Skills, Honing the Craft by Robert M. Knight. After I read the preface, I worried the book might be outdated. Whoops. I wish I found that put before I bought the book. Did you know you have 7 days to return Kindle content? Might have to do that. Regardless, here's what Knight writes (my commentary in red):
"Are blogs or tweets going to replace the newspaper as that other lowest common denominator, the medium from which all other forms of journalism derive? If so, we face huge ethical challenge, one that parts of this book allude to but don't actually address. My guess is, though, that once the blogsphere settles down (ha!), it will have little choice but to accept the AP style (whatever that is hahaha) as a base.
As one who edited, reported, and wrote news and features for decades before I taught it, I've watched what appears to be a steady decline in writing skills among those in the news media. We've seen it in newspapers, we've seen it in magazines and we've seen it on radio and television. Now we see ample evidence of it in the blogosphere, which displays some of the worst examples of writing ever to emerge in public prose. Hence this book."Perhaps the more I learn about journalism, the more I'll realize he's right, but I tend to disagree. What do you think of blog writers in general? Nice people but worst writers ever? Say it isn't so! Or is blogging and twitter evolving our written language, and are experienced journalists like Robert M. Knight simply resisting change? Deep. Have a happy weekend!