Let me be straight about a few things right off the top.
I know that what the Times On-Line did is not illegal and I never thought that it was illegal.
And I know that this space and what I write in this space, however personal it often feels to me, is most certainly public.
I get that.
But here's the thing.
I have a university degree in journalism. An honours journalism degree that I busted my ass to earn at a school widely considered to be the most rigorous in Canada for that discipline.
At this school a typo or spelling error resulted in an automatic zero. Not a failing grade; a zero. You had to be neutral. If you wrote "he insisted" as opposed to "he said" in a news story you were called on the carpet for editorializing. If you wrote "The meeting will be held on Friday" you were knocked down a grade: the meeting was merely scheduled for Friday and you had no business asserting with certainty what would happen two days hence.
Sources and source material, we were taught, were to be attributed with scrupulous care.
I don't claim that my journalism degree necessarily bestows upon me the ability to routinely craft perfect prose or anything close to it, but I do know that my years of striving to better my craft have made writing well, honestly and as accurately as possible a point of fierce pride.
I am proud of this blog and I am proud of the writing I have done here.
And I am especially proud to be a member of the blogging community despite the fact that the phrase "Blogs Ruin Journalism" brings up 3,900,000 hits on Google.
That's right folks: that's what a lot of people think.
Or at least that's what a lot of journalists think.
I got a reply from one of the reporters who wrote the Times On-Line story and she had a lot of perfectly wonderful things to say about my writing and my insights. She apologized for catching me off guard, but pointed out that she did mention my blog, that my blog was by its nature public and that she never actually said she had interviewed me for the article. (emphasis mine)
And she is right of course: technically, she is right.
ButI still feel that my content was expropriated in a cavalier fashion. And I told her that. I also asked her to try and understand how disrespected I feel: how intensely frustrating it is for journalists-cum-bloggers like me who are struggling to establish their on-line space as a legitimate means of publication to be denied a link (after asking twice) or proper and accurate attribution from a member of the mainstream media - the very establishment which has written endlessly (nearly four million hits!) about how unprofessional bloggers are.
She hasn't responded.
But I think you should.
I think everyone out there who blogs with passion and with creativity and with skill should speak up and declare themselves a Writer with a capital W. I think it's time that all bloggers, especially daddy and mommy bloggers (no, I don't resent that term - I embrace it) should demand the respect that their traffic, their influence and their talent commands.
I want you to speak up and tell the world that you and your writing and your blog deserve respect; from the Times On-Line, from the mainstream media and from every one of the millions of so-called "professional" journalists out there who have mused about whether blogs ruin journalism.
Here's the button and the code:
Throw it in your sidebar and then write a post. Write from your heart about what makes you and your writing and your blog worthy of respect. Send me the url and I'll link every single one of you at the end of this post.
We will create, right here, a gathering place where people can read about the revolution that is happening in writing and in publishing and in journalism.
You better believe mommy blogging is a facking radical act.
Write on! Respect the blog.
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