Are you a journalist?


 

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” – Andy Warhol

People staying connected with one another all the time. People knowing and sharing some of the similar news and events over and over. Rapid pace at which things go viral. Facebook, twitter, blogs. Everyone’s network has doubled or more. The number of followers in twitter and contacts in facebook is the new status symbol compared to earlier when a popular person was known by how many people he knew in his town. Even now, people in the same town may know each other, but there is a fat chance it is only an online acquaintance. It is cool to have a contact in an exotic town in Italy while not knowing about what local business is thriving. Our world just got a whole lot bigger and shrunk a whole lot more at the same time.

There are downsides to development, as with any progress. My main concerns like often, is about writing. I am a writer. I care about writing. I always have. Now I also care about India. I care about what makes this place. I care about what makes the people. I care about how things and places affect people. But mostly I am selfish. I care about my family. I care about what affects them. I care about how I can make the place better, in my own way. I care about making it better than how it was handed over to me so my kid can learn to make it even better.

If everyone could just do what they love, what they are passionate about, the world would be a better place. I think when things are half done or done without any attempt at learning or perfection, the ecosystem is affected. When we live among perfectionists we tend to be more perfect. When we are among a group of overeaters we tend to eat more. When we live abroad we care about cleanliness but let that slip in India. It is not our fault. Human beings are made to mimic each other, like most species. That’s how we blend in and learn to co-exist. By just following the trend. By keeping with the existing habits. But in order for a superior generation to evolve, our value system needs to change, something that’s not very prevalent in India. We must take pride in what we do and do it in the best possible way a human can. It may not always be achievable but certainly possible.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive”. – Howard Thurman.

Personally, I am at a point where I am reflecting on questions like what I want to write, what will the readers get out of my writing, what value I add and what change (however small) I can bring about. I have thought about these before but not with the same seriousness. When you have a baby, your life becomes a fast-forwarded race in an escalator and you’re moving in reverse. There is a (real or unreal) sense of urgency and the need to learn things at a pace almost as that of your own kid.

Back to writing, I believe that writers can influence and change a lot. Especially now that there are so many bloggers around. I’m reminded of the popular line in the spiderman movie “With great power comes great responsibility”. What can writers do? Writers can do the magic of making the most boring things sound magnanimous. Writers can make the most useless issue like a huge problem. Writers are word representatives (like sales representatives, only they sell words). Writers are thought marketers. All these a writer can do, a blogger can. Almost all bloggers are writers anyway. I am not against blogging about personal issues & everyday details of an individual but there are only a few people whose personal lives are worth hearing about. A majority of them (writing about waking up, shitting and sleeping) are not that important. From a goal standpoint, to me, writing just about personal information is very shallow. It’s similar to the immaturity when you are very young and you have certain standards of beauty but you realize when you grow up that everyone is beautiful no matter how they look.

How much value can people get from reading or sharing things about a pimple you got or a guy you dated? How much value do you place on your writing and what is your content level at the end of the day when you’ve shared about your break-up with a friend or a fling with your ex? These are the questions I ask myself as a blogger and a writer. Not that I don’t talk about personal issues, but that’s precisely why. The blogging world definitely needs some entertainers just like in the real world. But everyone is not cut out for it. Even in the real world it would not be healthy if a majority of them venture out into entertainment.

I view blogging as a form of journalism. Investigate. Present facts. Analyze. Journalism is everywhere unlike olden days when it was the duty of print media to enlighten the public. Now, each blogger has the power to analyze and share things that can be of some use even to just one other person. In addition to presenting facts & problems, we need to provide ideas for solutions and real solutions as well, something even the real journalists lack often.

 

“There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and shame the devil” – Walter Lippmann.

I am no journalist, but I am a blogger that believes everything is similar to journalism. Even every day life. With 15 minutes of fame, comes a requirement to be honest and present the truth for ourselves, our previous generation, our next generation, their next and so on because we do not know how & when our words can impact someone else. With a fast paced life, the need to be accurate & rational is very important so we don’t advocate false ideas or spread superstitions, even by mistake.

People should pick a niche when it comes to blogging to identify their skills & provide content for the readers. I am dangling between the following and not sure what my niche is:

  1. Arts as a means to empower people
  2. Improving society while having fun
  3. Kids & good parenting
  4. Fitness for the common man
  5. Postpartum depression

 

What is your take on blogging and journalism? What is your niche?

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5 thoughts on “Are you a journalist?

  1. I think sometimes when we just write what we like to write – even if it is about a pimple or a boy friend, it’s fine. We might find someone else who is concerned about a pimple and wants to know if others have boy friends – and they will be glad to know they aren’t alone with such concern or with boyfriends etc.

    I also feel it’s okay not to be perfect, just to be oneself – a lot of people write just because they need an outlet or a place to record their lives, others need to rant – each kind finds their own niche. Readers also might influence what we write more about I think, the posts that get more response or more thought provoking comments might lead to more subjects we wish to write about.
    Very interesting topic. Congratulations of Blogadda pick Sowmya.

  2. Hello Sowmya,
    Congratulations for selection of your blog for Tangy tuesday.

    I respect your thoughts but at the same time I respect thoughts of those who write about their pimples or boyfriends or about when they wake up, sit, stand etc.. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and perspectives. Readers can make thier choice whether they want to read about someone’s pimple or boyfriend or whether they want to read about arts, fitness, culture, parenting , social issues etc. I dont think there is any rule to blogging. Also, I dont agree that journalism is only about writing about arts, culture, society and fitness.

    Blogging is a platform to vent out ones ideas and thoughts and people do think about pimples and boyfriends as much as they do about society, culture, fitness and art.

    This is just a view on blogging and not a crticism of your topic. You have presented an interesting view and I will wait to see more from you now that you have identified your niche.

    All the very best.

  3. A very nutritious , well cooked food for thought. I don’t think that blogging and journalism are two different entity. Both can be creative at the same time act as a mirror of the society. It all depend on the blogger’s state of mind while writing certain post and the audience he/she wants to reach.

  4. Just a few clarifications:

    The country has so many problems that no matter how many groups emerge to do good for the society, they seem like nothing because of the sheer magnitude & number of issues. In a war or crisis, it becomes mandatory for every household to send someone to fight. We could consider today’s world and all the issues as war & every blogger could step in and think of a solution. While the performers take care of the troop’s entertainment, the soldiers fight the enemy. What would happen if everyone tried to be an entertainer (and clearly not everyone is great at that)? That was my point.
    My intention was/is not to criticize anyone, but more of a pondering & self-analysis because at this point I’m rethinking my blogging/writing goals and trying to avoid “just” writing about my personal life.

    IHM: I’m a big fan of you and your blog. I try not to miss any of your posts šŸ™‚
    AH, SRA: Thanks for visiting. Look forward to more of your posts šŸ™‚

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