Career Update: Another Internship

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   After I read the preface, I worried the book might be outdated.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!


  1. I have been thinking about this a lot lately too! I'm trying to break into the Dublin journalism market much like you're trying to do in New York. I've been working as a communications officer but now I want to be on the other side. I think there actually is a big difference in the style of writing between blogs and print, but I think I like it that way. I've found blogging strengthens my writing by getting my thoughts from my head to the keyboard, but print journalism will need more specific structure. I don't think blogging (or it's style) is going anywhere soon, and the same with print media, but they'll keep intersecting in more and more ways. Figuring out how to write for print is a challenge, but I know we'll both figure it out soon! :)

  2. Sometimes the only thing I read all day (besides e-mail) is your blog. I find newspapers and general "news" to be so depressing and often not relatable. Not to say we shouldn't be aware of what's going on, but to be immersed in horrible things happening in my community and world is an added stress I don't need. I also don't have the time or patience with a baby to read an entire book so blogs are a perfect fit for someone like me. I really look forward to seeing what you post! (Plus I miss you terribly so it helps me feel a bit closer.)

  3. The local newscasters in my area also do the writing for the online version of our local news stories. Some of the writing is absolutely atrocious. Once, there was an entire paragraph (think 5-6 lines long) that was a run on sentence. In contrast, some of the blogs I read are the most well written and eloquent pieces I've ever come across. Good luck in your new position, I'm sure you will do fabulous!

  4. Oh I think there's a ton of well-written blogs out there. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I would liken successful, professional blogs to an academic endeavor. So much research, citation, curating and editing is involved in what many are "publishing' on blogs these days. I think it invigorates and challenges convential media as an institution as well as the conventional norms about writing as a practice. Interesting topic, Sharon.

  5. DEFINITELY buy the latest edition of the AP stylebook!! (www.apstylebook.com) It's an awesome cheat sheet and always answers my AP style questions!


  6. congratulations on the internship! that's very exciting!

    and that's a very interesting thought about the decline of writing. I think there's some validity behind it, but honestly it depresses me too much to think about it. So I just keep on blogging :) We'll hit a balance, eventually... right?

  7. I honestly don't mind when print and the "blogging style" overlap. I actually find it refreshing. I am a visual arts teacher in California and also a yearbook advisor. I am not the journalism teacher, nor do I pretend to be. (There is a journalism teacher on campus and she also advises the newspaper.) I teach my students important journalistic and reporting "elements," but I ask them to focus on their audience and write a bit more creatively (without editorializing) than I think has been the case, traditionally.

    As far as actual print media goes, last year I had a horrifying conversation with other yearbook advisers/art teachers about the idea that "print is dying." This disturbed me so much that on my way home from work that day, I made a pit stop at the local $1 book store and purchased 22 books on art and media. I vowed that day to never contribute to the death of print. And although, a year later I have chosen to enter this world of non-print writing as a blogger, I still maintain that there should be a place for traditional print media. The texture and smell of paper between your fingers cannot be replaced, nor replicated via the internet, well, not yet.

    I do believe writing (in general) is evolving. I think journalism should still be offered in schools, and that all students should be taught the AP style. There is a lot to be learned from the journalistic method, many guidelines and rules about how and when to state things, but there must be room for change. With a new generation that has been immersed, since birth, into this digital/visual/texting age, I believe we are going to find more and more writing that is a hybrid of "traditional" and digitally-based writing styles. It's the nature of the beast. I don't think journalism will die. I think that it will help guide the new-commers in telling the stories of their time, the stories that matter most, and I think we should be ready to embrace them.

    My own p e r s o n a l style... has no rules (obviously). I write to get thoughts out there and I can do it with a pen or a keyboard.

    I just started reading your blog, and I love it. :) I hope you continue to enjoy this journey.


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