Today I went to CE Week here in New York. And here’s what I learned: I’m not journalist, and I’m fine with that.
For the second year in a row, the fabulous folks at Techlicious hosted a Media/Mom Blogger tour of the CE Week floor, highlighting various companies and products. Imagine it! Actual journalists and bloggers co-existing and seeing the SAME things without coming to blows!
We saw Woven, a free app that aggregates your photos from all those bazillions of different websites you use to store them – Facebook, Picassa, Shutterfly, etc. etc. etc — so you can see them all in one place. (Being able to share them from that one place would be nice — but for now at least, it’s just a viewer. Still handy.)
We got a look at the latest ipieces ipad/app based toys from venerable toy company Pressman. Their upcoming pool game looks pretty cool. We saw the new, incredibly well priced streaming soundbar from RCA ($99), which also allows for video streaming from internet providers like Hulu and Netflix for no extra charge.
We learned about the super cool Control4 HC_250 Controller, which basically turns your home into a smart home. Letting you control lights, temperature, even door locks and window shades with a remote, or from your smart phone.
Speaking of smartphones, we were treated to lunch at BLT Fish by HTC, who showed us a demo of their newest smart phone, the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE. Which has an awesome camera, a cool live widget system, and really, surprisingly good sound for a phone. The thing has beats. I’m a Windows Phone girl…but I could be convinced.
And we got swag. Lots of swag. Including the Control 4. Which I called super cool just a few sentences back.
So does saying it’s cool when I got one make me NOT a journalist? Nope. I’m NOT a journalist because I do not get paid. I do not get assignments. I do not have a journalism degree.
None of this is news to me.
What makes me NOT a journalist is that I write what I want, when I want to. What makes me NOT a journalist is that I am a blogger. And blogging is a whole new bag, baby.
Bloggers write so that readers can get to know them. We are not restricted by the journalistic rules of impartiality and distance. Quite the contrary. Blogging is all about the personal. Be impartial and no one will care what you have to say.
Look, if I’m interested in learning about what happened in the latest Supreme Court decision (yay, upholding healthcare), I don’t want to know the personal health care story of the reporter writing about how each justice voted and what the majority opinion said. I just want the journalistic facts. But when I read a blog about the same topic, I’m interested in what the blogger has to say about how he or she feels about the decision. Why they care. Because I care about the blogger, because through their writing I’ve come to know them as a person – not just as a journalist – I care about their opinions, too.
Today, during a CE Week panel about Mom Bloggers and brands, someone asked my friend Amy Oztan of SelfishMom.com how she would address the fact that she’s not a real journalist. That she doesn’t have the same journalistic integrity or standards as a journalist. (only he asked in an even more aggressive, accusatory way and the guy asking/accusing clearly has not heard about what’s going on with Rupert Murdoch et al. if he thinks journalists are universally full of integrity. Hey dude, read a newspaper.) Her answer: “well, I’m not journalist” pretty much summed it up.
Bloggers know we’re not journalists. We know we write in a more personal way. We know journalists get more respect. We know that they get a paycheck when all we get is offers of cases of cereal (yes, that happened to me yesterday) and the occasional sponsored post which, according to FTC regulations, we must disclose, while the “journalists” over at the women’s magazines live in a veritable beauty product swag-fest and never have to disclose a thing.
We know that journalists often risk their lives to uncover truths. While all we do is risk our personal relationships when we reveal too much. We know journalists might spend weeks or even months on assignments, when we often just write things up and hit publish.
We know all this. We are mom bloggers, not journalists. And we’re OK with that. We are not pretending to be journalists. We are something new. We are essayists with a digital platform. We are reviewers who write about how WE use a product – not how a product functions in an empirical way. We rarely uncover news. We respond to it. We don’t write about parenting – we write about being parents.
If other people have a problem with the fact that we’re not journalists, well, that’s their problem. No one complains that we’re not real movie stars, or pediatricians, or professional chefs – and yet we star in countless home videos, treat skinned knees and upset tummies, and cook for our families all the time.
So I’m a blogger. Not a journalist. I’m still a writer. And damn proud of it.