Saturday, February 18, 2006

Article on the J-Blogosphere

(Hat tip: Chana)

There was an article this weekend* in the Chicago Jewish News about the Jewish blogosphere. It's pretty standard, as far as blogosphere articles go, [as opposed to this awesome one,] but there was a part that really stuck out to me:
Others admit the blogosphere tends to attract wannabe journalists, who see the Web as a viable marketing tool.

"A lot of writers use them to test the waters for their writing," Schiano said. "It's a new form of publishing."

As a freelance writer who has gotten jobs from blogging, [ed: Esther] Kustanowitz [of Jewlicious and other blogs] affirmed this. "I'm not going to lie-it's also a place for self-promotion," Kustanowitz says. "It's doing P.R. work for me even when I'm not doing anything for me. That's the Internet for you."
Now, obviously this is nothing new. But I was thinking about it, and trying to figure out just how true that is: After all, there are millions of blogs, and it is incredibly difficult to truly work your way up to the point that a large swath of people are really noticing and reading you. How much can that help someone in pursuing a journalism career? Yes, it's great practice in terms of writing, but in terms of typical journalism, it's not comparable in style or much of anything. (Is it?)

But, as I noted at DovBear, perhaps it's a little more than that. People tend to write in many different styles, even if they have a certain general style that's consistent. Of those styles, it's often hard to determine which will connect most with readers - a key factor in getting articles printed in magazines, newspapers, or any other medium. Not only does blogging let people see for themselves which of their styles connect the most with readers, they get feedback from people what was and wasn't good about their article by seeing what they did and didn't like, and what people misunderstood because of how something was written. Based on this extra feedback, a person can determine what material of theirs is best to send as an example of their talent why they search for a job - a dramatic improvement over what they may have sent otherwise. Add in the extra bonus that an editor somewhere may read a post and think, "Hey, this person can write!", and it makes perfect sense.

What do you think? Does blogging really make that much of a difference in the pursuit of a journalism career - or any other career for that matter?

* I believe. Chigaoan Robbie, in the comments at DovBear, who also mentioned it, said he thinks he's seen it before. It may just have been reprinted.

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  1. I don't know about journalism, but I think that blogging can make a difference for future employers who want more than a resume and a short interview. It provides more information about you as an individual, your personality style, and perhaps the way your mind works, whether you're creative and original, whether you're someone with initiative or not, etc. I don't think, however, that blogging can make or break your career unless you're an incredibly successful blogger or, on the contrary, blogging during work or divulging your employer's secrets.

  2. It may just have been reprinted.

    I had this item on Jan 18th:

    Shavua Tov

  3. Weird, because I read Judeopundit every day...

    No wonder you're so well imformed!

  4. Whoops. :)

    Weird, because I read Judeopundit every day...

  5. Irina - I think that can work both ways. Hopefully, it's in a person's favor, assuming they're applying for jobs that fit their personality. But if not... the blog will let employers know in advance.


  6. No wonder you're so well imformed!

    Heh. :)

  7. Since I'm not a journalist, I really can't speak to whether or not blogging is helpful to a journalism career. I do, however, think it's a great way to test "the writing waters", to hone your skills, to see what attracts people and what doesn't.

  8. It's from a JTA article, so it's likely to find a home in several publications over the course of several months, as these articles often do...

    And obviously you now know where I stand on this issue. But you might also be interested to know that I'll be leading a session about this very topic at the American Jewish Press Association's freelancers' workshop the first week in March...

  9. I think what makes Jewlicious so compelling is, at least in part, the fact that we are all just ordinary people. We give voice to a population not involved in local Federations etc. and who traditionally do not have a voice in Jewish communal affairs. We have somehow managed to attract a significant audience. This has allowed us to be involved in cool stuff like our recent Jewlicious @ The Beach Conference in Long Beach our upcoming Taglit-birthright Israel trips and other soon to be announced projects. If we were Jewish community professionals, the visibility and networking opportunities afforded us would be golden. But that's not what we do.

    That having been said, we have benefited from professional opportunties that became available by virtue of our involvement in the blog. Hope that helps.