By Steve Outing
In my latest Editor & Publisher Online column, mentioned here the other day, among other things I suggest that all journalists should have a blog and that they should use it — and the interactivity with the audience that blogs afford — to be more transparent and open about their lives and activities. I meant that as a means to get out of journalism-ivory-tower mode and present themselves as more human.
For another viewpoint, I encourage you to read this piece in Snarkaholic by Tish Grier, who makes some good points about journalists who may have less than idyllic lives and may have good reason for not sharing too much.
Grier wrote this to me in a personal note (published here with her permission):
“Many, many adults should not mix their personal blogs or too much personal information with their professional writing. Face it, Steve, unless an adult has a wonderful, wholesome personal life — replete with spouse, kids, and the right social connections — his/her personal life is not something that most people want to know about. It becomes, in colloquial lexicon, ‘Too Much Information.’
“And, let’s face another fact, some of the best journalists and writers are folks who live a bit on the edge — who are single, who are a bit debauched, who are free spirits with complicated lives. They’re not always good family men and women attending the right charity fundraiser.
“It would be a shame to force journalists to put up personal pages that would be constructed only to show the world a perfected public personna that one is agreeable to the wider world. That would be just as, if not more, dishonest than if they’d made up a story about a kid dying of cancer.”
Some good points, Tish. I don’t advocate that media organizations mandate “getting naked,” as you put it. Yet I still think that for most journalists, opening themselves up to their audiences can be a very good thing.