Okay, so it’s been said that you can’t be a journalist and a blogger, you can only be a journalist with a blog which, apparently, is different. When I first heard this I took it really, truly personally. Now, I’m starting to think the author may be right.
Following Creative Director of Vogue, Robin Derrick’s talk on Fashion In The Digital Age at the Apple Store in Covent Garden on February 3rd things seem to have come to a head. He went straight for the jugular, ‘brands and consumers are talking directly to each other via blogs and Twitter making traditional beauty journalism redundant’. Ouch. Although I highlighted the Telegraph’s new Beauty Waitlist ‘insider preview’, I’ve read on other blogs that this new on-line feature is meant to ‘fight the bloggers’. I wondered at the time on my own post about it whether it was a shot across the boughs to bloggers, and clearly, it is. Which then obviously doesn’t help anyone if you want to be journalist AND blogger. In this instance, I don’t see why you should have your cake and eat it. If you are going take on bloggers in your print job and yet tout out your blog online then it is no way to win the hearts of your readers in either camp. One editor was particularly vocal on Twitter at the time tweets were coming through the timeline about what Robin was saying; she was clearly livid. But, let’s just see how Beauty Waitlist compares. Is it really coming that magazines and those with fast access to products to enter a race with blogs on who can show and tell first? What, really? It’s kind of even more embarrassingly crass that an editor is telling PRs that if she sees products featured on my blog then she has rather a ‘difficult time justifying showing it to her print readers’. In essence, using a little bit of power-play to bully her way to first dibs. Oh, please! And I know that issue still goes on.
What I think is that if you do want to ‘fight the bloggers’, go ahead! I’m pretty sure that nobody will notice. If you want to be a blogger, you put your readers first and not your ego, you don’t enter an unseemly scramble when actually, nobody else is playing and you get down and dirty and start swatching those products. And that would be in proper day-light, at all hours of the day and night, after you’ve done your day-job. You’ll also need to know what an OCC Lip Tar is and does, you’ll need to be prepared to share your Face Of The Day, your nails done up in polish, photographed and posted, your spots after treatment (and maybe even before), your feet after they’ve been nibbled by fish. You’ll need to spend hours on-line researching new stuff, you’ll need to know who Temptalia is, you’ll need to know exactly what happened when MAC met Rodarte....hmm, just not seeing it myself. What I can see happening is a ‘look at me, I got it first’ vanity project.
So, to quickly round up, I am a beauty-writer and blogger, but in my heart I’m a blogger first. Whatever I do outside of blogging is just my day-job, just like, er, any other blogger. Where I do apply journalistic tactics to my blog is to source first looks, tussle with PRs who still use the old fashioned notion of magazine exclusives, and spend hours and hours researching a sniff of a story. And why? Just like any other blogger and, indeed, journalist, I want my readers to have something to come back for, that they probably can’t find everywhere else and that feeds their passion for beauty in a way that has heart and integrity and is nothing, I mean, nothing, whatsoever to do with who is advertising that week.