Never Say Never

Source: Flickr (Luke Gattuso)

I said I would never blog.

This was back in the Aughts. Blogs became a thing when I was still a practicing journalist and all the top editors were frothing at the bit about blogs without knowing much about them. Suddenly a dozen reporters had “blogs” that weren’t much more than strings of random musings and desperate attempts at engaging online readers. These blogs took time away from real reporting, even as cutbacks at daily papers began in earnest.

In fact I even said (under my breath and to trusted colleagues), “The day they make me blog is the day I quit.”

Well, it never came to that. Soon my whole department at the paper got offered buy-outs, the first of many rounds of drastic cost-cutting measures as the decimation of the newspaper industry ramped up.

Since then, I’ve had other jobs: yoga teacher, freelance writer and editor, communications director for an e-commerce start-up and director of marketing & communications for a private school. I not only learned about public relations from the other side, but also more about what I do and don’t like in this brave new online world.

Which brings me back to blogging. I’m about to embark on new job: teaching PR writing at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication. One of the requirements of the course is that students blog as part of a personal social media branding plan that they develop. So I’m going to blog – and learn – alongside them.

While I have a lot to learn, here are a few tidbits I can offer:

The blogosphere is littered with navel-gazing. Share your authentic self, but do so in a way that might be meaningful to others. Be mindful. Use your experience and voice to set your blog apart. Blogs have matured since I first encountered them a digital eon ago. The best ones make you want to keep reading or even join the conversation. Good writing takes work and relies on a “funny little thing called reporting,” as one of my grad school professors used to say.

I look forward to learning more with and from you over the coming weeks.


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