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this is not journalism


See how there are no capital letters in the title? I’m not even sure that it’s not meant to be capitol or if I’m leading with the right words, or perhaps it’s a lede?

I won’t look any of these things up just for today because I feel a need to identify and share a few of the many things I do not know. I don’t know some basic spelling so I keep a dictionary nearby. I don’t know how to use a comma very well and my friend Lisa used to email me about this but I trust that she’s given up and decided that my comma abuse or neglect is something she will just have to live with. I don’t delay gratification well and I don’t always use good judgement.

I am human and deeply flawed as are you. 

Recently I was on a panel at a Social Media Club Los Angeles event and one of the things that I was unable to agree with the other panelists about is whether or not blogging can be journalism. I asserted that night (and I stand by this assertion) that without an editor it is impossible to be a journalist. I’m not worried that we can’t catch our own typos or come up with a decent lede (though it’s entirely likely that those two things are true). What I don’t think that writers are able to offer without a good editor is perspective.

When I tell you an apple is red an editor may ask what shade of red? Is it crimson or does it have a little tinge of green left where it’s not quite ripe? If I describe a vehicle as fast a good editor will ask me to define fast. Is it faster than a Honda Civic or is it faster than a late model BMW M5?

I’ve had editors for publications both online and offline and each of them has taught me something valuable. I’ve learned about getting three independent sources to verify a story (something I will never do). I’ve learned to not be inflammatory (something I also don’t want to do). I’ve learned to use enticing language without succumbing to ridiculousness and sounding like a 15 year old writing  poetry.

Editors aren’t necessarily better writers than you or I. The magic is that they’re a different person. Editors read your words without knowing what you were thinking when you wrote them, editors read your words similarly to how an audience will. The same goes for your images. Editors allow you one last opportunity to decide if you’re ready to stand behind your words.

Bloggers can be your best friend, in the absence of an editor a blogger can extol your virtues without ever looking at the other side. We basically write amazing opinion pieces or letters to the editor full of sound (and fury, signifying nothing). Bloggers also have things they dislike. Left to my own devices I’d explain to you that feeding your children Mc[Redacted] is much more efficient than punching them in the gut. A good editor would red ink that thing and remind me that I need proof of the liver damage that the frankenfood will provide.

You get my point.

We bloggers aren’t fair or balanced even when we strive to be (and most often we aren’t striving for balance). I’m here to entertain you, I’m here to make you think and I’m here to ask you questions that might make you squirm. It’s good to be a blogger. It’s fantastic not having an editor. Just don’t mistake a blogger for a journalist.