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Problems journalists have when blogging

Journalists, Scott Rosenberg writes, often have trouble understanding that the motivation of most bloggers is not money or global stardom, but simply self expression.

He writes:

It is very hard for journalists to understand this because the opportunity to express themselves in public has always been a part of their professional birthright. So they won’t notice that motivation even when it’s staring them in the face.

Here’s where I disagree. In my experience, self-expression has not been a professional birthright. Ask most journalists, and they’ll complain that editors remove their voice, their jokes, their opinions. At most places, in fact, this is what editors are paid to do. Throughout my career, the vast majority of BusinessWeek readers have read my articles about Mexico, steel, Nokia, etc. to learn about those things, not about me.

Most journalists, being frustrated writers, pine for that point in their career when they can express themselves. It’s true, blogging provides a much looser platform (with no editors). But even on a blog, a mainstream journalist still represents the publication. Our voices can wander only so far. That’s true even if we blog independently, as many of us do. To express ourselves the way Scott describes, we have to quit (or otherwise lose our jobs). Speaking personally, there’s no rush.

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